Not your father's bomb shelter: Interest in terrorist-proof housing grows

With Osama bin Laden releasing a new audio reportedly threatening still more terrorist attacks directed at the U.S., I thought this might be a good time to take a look at a very interesting specialty market: terrorist-proof homes, also known as "hardened homes" or structures.

"These facilities are designed with independent sources of power and water and typically incorporate a substantial underground component," explains the website for a Virgina Beach, Virginia company called Hardened Structures/Hardened Shelters. "They can serve as your primary dwelling, vacation homes, corporate retreat, long term shelter or expanded multi-function compound."

Fear has always been a great sales pitch in this country. At the height of the cold-war in the late '50s through the mid-'60s, there was a booming business in this country for fall-out shelters. Most were pretty crude, though.

Not so these 2010 facilities.

Hardened Structures claims to use guidelines and design standards that are set up by just about every U.S. agency from the Department of Defense to the Department of Homeland Security.

"Stated simply, " says the company's sales promotional, "a Hardened Structure is where you go when external forces are threatening your life ... Terrorism is real ... The unyielding, tenacious and patient nature of the terrorists targeting our country requires us to plan, design and build facilities that deter and mitigate their efforts."