Spy town for sale: Slightly used, move-in ready, no cellphones allowed
A tree-lined street is shown at Sugar Grove Station, W.V. (GSA)
Published Thursday, June 9, 2016 6:00AM EDT
Nobody likes moving into a new home, only to find it full of bugs left over from the last occupant.
But if that was the only drawback standing between you and ownership over an entire town, you might be willing to deal with it.
A former town for American spies in West Virginia has gone up for auction at a minimum bid of US$1 million. That converts to $1.27 million Canadian, which is close to the average price of a detached home in Toronto or Vancouver.
But for the price of one cosy home in a major Canadian city, you could be Mayor for Life in a quaint, self-sustaining American town once populated by operatives of the National Security Agency. And with the military fences still in place around the perimeter, it's the ultimate gated community.
Nestled on the western edge of a national forest, Sugar Grove Station, W.V. is a 0.5 square-kilometre property with 80 single-family homes, a dorm with 53 suites and a number of functional municipal buildings, including a fire station, a youth activity centre and a public works building. The U.S. government's public auction site says the town is "ideal for a corporate training centre, a university or academic campus, a spa/clinic, movie studio, or mountain resort."
Or, perhaps, a "Walking Dead"-style zombie refuge, a personal fiefdom, or a doomsday cult.
One of the major drawbacks to the town is that it sits under the United States' National Radio Quiet Zone, meaning it might as well be named "The Town that Telecommunications Forgot." The use of cellphones, radios and Wi-Fi devices is prohibited in the area, unless for scientific or military purposes.
The National Radio Quiet Zone was established in 1958, shortly before the base was founded as a listening post to monitor communications from the Soviet Union. Several gigantic satellite dishes and radio telescopes remain in use in the area.
No closing date is listed on the government auction website, but a third open house showing is scheduled for next week.
So if you and 79 of your friends are down with using dial-up Internet and landline phones, Sugar Grove Station might just be the right community for you.