Fearing the United States was lingering on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Ling-Chieh “Louis” Kung built an underground bomb shelter in the outskirts of Montgomery in the ’80s to house hundreds of his employees and relatives in the event of a nuclear attack.
Kung, who was a nephew of Madame Chiang Kai-shek, a first lady of the Republic of China, built the underground bomb shelter in 1982 next to the four-story office space that served as the headquarters for his oil company, Westland Oil.
“It didn’t look like anything was there, but [the gazebos]were actually the entrances,” said Brock Nieves, Westland Bunker vice president of sales and marketing. “Then you walk down these gun ports, pass through these tunnels that led to the decontamination showers [and]then into the facility.”
Nieves said the design of the structure itself, with its bulletproof glass, collapsing entry tunnels, medical facilities, jail cells and gun ports—coupled with tales from former employees—paints a picture of Kung.
“[Kung] had four armed guards around him at all times,” Nieves said. “That is how paranoid he was.”
Kung lost the property when he filed for bankruptcy in 1988. In 1996 Kung died in Houston, Nieves said.
In the early 2000s West Hill Park Joint Ventures opened restaurant and bar 550 Club inside the facility.
After West Hill Park Joint Ventures filed for bankruptcy in 2005, the Westland Bunker company bought the property for about $11 million in 2007, Nieves said. The facility opened as a data storage center and office campus in July 2008.
The facility became popular after Galveston was hit by Hurricane Ike in mid-September 2008.
“Within 18 months after Ike, we grew 700 percent,” Nieves said.
Today Inside The Bunker
Westland Bunker is used as a data storage center and office building for local and international tenants.
The data storage center—which is a facility that houses computer, telecommunication and storage systems—features tenants in the oil and gas, financial, governmental, information technology and managed service industries, said Brock Nieves, Westland Bunker vice president of sales and marketing.
“Really we sell space, power and connectivity,” Nieves said. “We lease you the space, we hand you the power and the connectivity to a [telecommunications]carrier. Whatever you put inside the [server]racks is entirely up to you.”
Some of the office space serves business-continuity tenants, which are organizations that maintain a daily office space elsewhere but would retreat to the Westland Bunker in the event of a natural or worldly disaster in order to continue their operations.
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