A Cold War-era nuclear bunker has the potential to be used for tourism purposes, according to a property firm which aims to sell it for more than half-a-million pounds.
The facility on the edge of Ballymena is currently owned by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM), and goes on sale on Tuesday.
One storey of it is built above ground, and the other below ground.
Asked what any would-be buyer could use the bunker for, Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), the commercial property firm which is handling the sale, responded: “We believe the property may have potential for a wide range of uses including, but not limited to media, tourism and secure storage.”
LSH is looking for offers of roughly £575,000 for the 3.74-acre site, which is based in Woodside Road Industrial Estate to the east of the Co Antrim town.
The bunker has dormitories inside, kitchen facilities, and conference rooms.
In addition to these typical commercial features, it also boasts an air filtration system, decontamination chambers, and “inter-locking double blast doors” – as well as a BBC broadcasting suite.
It had originally been commissioned in the late 1980s, and opened in 1990 according to LSH.
The precise nature and extent of the Province’s nuclear bunker network appears unclear.
In a report in 2007, the BBC said it had used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information about Northern Irish nuclear bunkers, and stated that the Ballymena site was the only one (adding that it had room inside for 235 people).
Investigative website The Detail, meanwhile, said that, in the wake of the Second World War, 44 monitoring bunkers had been built in Northern Ireland. For example, one bunker facility near Portadown closed in 1991 but later reopened as a museum.
In a statement, LSH surveyor Andrew Frasersaid of the Ballymena site: “We’re delighted to be presented with the challenge to find a purchaser for this one of a kind property.
“This is an extremely rare listing and offers a unique opportunity for potential buyers.”
The agency expects “a lot of interest in the property”.