Story last updated at 2:33 p.m. Thursday, May 30, 2002

World War II bunkers go upscale
The nine enormous concrete bunkers built into the hillside at the base of Old Woman Mountain in Kodiak were supposed to be used for fuel storage during World War II. Now they're some of the hottest property on the Emerald Isle.

Barry Still, owner of Lash Corp., gets credit for his entrepreneurial vision. The marine contracting company bought the bunkers, along with the rest of the industrial complex on which they sit, figuring they might make good storage facilities, said Dale Heath, Lash's terminal manager.

Then Still decided to renovate a bunker into the company's offices.

"As soon as (the contractor) started making noticeable progress, the phone started ringing off the hook," Heath said. "Everyone wanted to know what was going on."

The contractor is now renovating a second bunker for a local plumbing company, while a welding contractor wants a third.

Surprisingly, the old bunkers never held fuel, so environmental clean-up was minimal. Each octagonal bunker can have three levels of 1,000 square feet each. Still used vinyl siding on his, and put an onion dome cupola on top, flooding the highest floor with light.

"It's a cool building," said onlooker Janet Johnson. "You'll never find another building that looks like this."

<> Alaska Journal of Commerce