A piece of Cold War history is up for sale in New Jersey, where a town is listing its Nike missile base for $1.8 million.
In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, launching an arms race that would continue throughout the Cold War. After Sputnik, the US responded with missiles of its own, and 12 Nike missile bases were built in Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, surrounding Philadelphia.
Project Nike was a US military plan of more than 250 bases across the country using an anti-aircraft missile system, named after the Greek goddess of victory. When this and other missile bases were decommissioned in 1974, they were offered to federal agencies, local governments, and private buyers. Woolwich Township only bought this base in 2009 for $828,000.
Here’s what the site looks like today.
The missile base consists of two parts, the launcher section and the radar section.
Woolwich is only selling the radar section, which is above ground.
The launcher section, which is not for sale, still has some missiles stored underground, though they are sealed. Hatches are at least 30 feet deep.
The launcher area may also be contaminated with toxins.
This Nike missile is like the ones that the base was armed with during the Cold War.
The property is made up of several structures, including barracks, a control room, a kitchen and mess hall, and even an empty pool.
Though the base has been mostly abandoned since 1974, many of the buildings are still standing.
The control building, seen here, is in a state of extreme disrepair.
The generator building, like most of the buildings on the property, has been completely overgrown.
In 2017, Woolwich released a redevelopment plan for the site, envisioning potential future uses.
Under the “vision concepts” section of the plan, the land use board included photos of parks, shops, and restaurants.
The report also says that the base is within walking distance of 3,200 homes, potentially a desirable area for buyers.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were several bids on it” Jane Asselta, vice president of Southern New Jersey Development Council, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Woolwich is also putting the property on the town’s sewer system, which might make is more attractive to a buyer.
Despite the base’s role in the Cold War, the property is not listed as a historical site.
Buildings like these barracks, which were occupied from 1957 to 1974, would likely be torn down for development.
Most buildings on the 33 acre site are covered in broken pavement and glass, and some roofs are collapsing, likely making them unsalvageable.
The town has already heard from at least a few potential buyers.
However, the town is reportedly suggesting historical uses of the site to potential buyers, which would partially preserve the site.
All bids are due by June 15, and the minimum is $1.8 million.
Other missile silos, located underground, have recently sold for more than $400,000 each in Arizona.
There may also be potential for a buyer to renovate the structures already there, like a couple in Kansas who converted a missile silo into an 18,000 square foot, partially underground castle.
This content was originally published here.