For sale: Nuclear bomb-proof space station in Carmel Valley


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Who wouldn’t want to own a nuclear bomb-proof earth station and a piece of space history?

The Jamesburg Earth Station, which transmitted some of the first images of the Apollo 11 moon landing, is on the market.

The one-of-a-kind securely fenced 160-acre property comes with a three-bedroom house, a 20,000-square-foot building, a helicopter landing pad and a 10-story satellite dish and antenna. It’s in Cachaua Valley, not far from Carmel Valley andabout 20 miles southeast of Monterey, a bit off the beaten track and offbeat, period.


The unusual selling point of this picturesque property situated among rolling hills and wine vineyards: Built at the height of the nuclear arms race with the former Soviet Union, the 20,000-square-foot earth station can withstand a five-megaton nuclear blast.

The dish used to transmit satellite communications between the U.S. and other Pacific Rim countries. It was shut down in 2002 by owner AT&T and put up for sale. Some ham radio operators restored and fired up the dish in 2007 and bounced 20 radio signals off the moon.

The current owner of Jamesburg hails from Silicon Valley. He had hoped to turn it into a residence. He even added an exercise room and an indoor basketball court, according to his real estate agent.

For the last year he has been trying to sell the property for $4.2 million, but Bert Aronson of Keller Williams Realty in Carmel said the owner is considering dropping the price by $1 million or so. Local TV reports may generate interest among space history buffs or nearby geeks in Silicon Valley.

“We’ve gotten lots of inquiries but no offers,” Aronson said. “Somebody could use it as a server farm or to store vintage cars or wine. Someone will come up with a use for it.”

Aronson said he has received plenty of interest in the satellite dish from as far away as Australia. “But in this day and age,” he said, “nobody has any money.”



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-- Jessica Guynn