Home News In the New Mexico Wilderness, a Survivalist Compound Asks $30 Million

In the New Mexico Wilderness, a Survivalist Compound Asks $30 Million

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Just outside Taos, New Mexico, about 312 acres of ranch were built with survival in mind.

Reinforced concrete homes, accessible from a long driveway in the wilderness adjacent to Carson National Forest, have their own water supply, a year’s worth of propane, a solar energy system, multiple standby generators, and even a herd of yaks. Offer price: $ 30 million.

Howard Mints in 2021.


Dominique Volyon

According to Claudia Mardel of Keller Williams, this property is the most expensive residential property for sale in New Mexico and is listed with her colleague Pam Sawyer. Owner, retired real estate developer and seismic construction expert Howard Mintz spent more than 20 years designing and building homes, but he was a survivalist “psycho”. I said it wasn’t.

“I’m not going to build an underground bunker with bunk beds or eat cans of beans or oatmeal for the rest of my life,” said Mintz, 72, born in Brooklyn. Off the grid during political and economic turmoil.

“Once all the hell is released, it’s okay to come here,” he said.

Approximately 85 yaks live on the premises, Mintz said, “smarter than cows and much less dangerous than buffaloes.” Yak is sold with properties that also include a guesthouse, a gatehouse, a large barn with an arena and a hay hut and horse facilities.

A carp pond that is a type of moat. Dominique Volyon
The property has a herd of yaks. Dominique Volyon

On the left is a carp pond that looks like a moat. There is a flock of yaks at the property. Dominique Volyon (2)

For decades, Mintz was a custom homebuilder on the outskirts of New York. He then ran an earthquake construction company in San Francisco, building or remodeling residential and commercial real estate to withstand the earthquake. He said he moved from San Francisco to New Mexico in 1996 after his divorce and spent years building land and designing homes on forested hills. He took classes in the nearby Earthship community, an off-the-grid community where residents live in “fundamentally sustainable” passive solar houses, but eventually build real estate in his own style. I decided.

Mintz initially lived in a trailer on the premises because he had to live somewhere under construction, but it’s very cold in winter and he says he can breathe even if he lays three large dogs on his side. I did. He eventually built the building and moved to a small guesthouse on the premises. Since retiring from the construction industry in 2019, he has focused on finishing the main building, but he said it was only about 85% complete.

Survival mode

Howard Mints
Howard Mints
Howard Mints
Howard Mints

The house has a poured architectural concrete wall. The property also has a guest house. Howard Mints (4)

It spans approximately 4,000 square feet and has an outdoor heated terrace of approximately 3,000 square feet. The house has poured architectural concrete walls, bamboo ceilings, Brazilian saponite floors, and steel beams wrapped in renewable cedar. The endless carp pond at the edge of the site acts as a kind of moat.

Minz said the land is energy- and water-independent, thanks to a recently constructed well that is more than a quarter mile deep. Propane tanks can hold up to 4,000 gallons of fuel in the main building and guesthouses, which could last for more than a year, he said.

Mints said he spent tens of millions of dollars building a house, including about $ 1 million in tools and equipment, as the right tools weren’t available in the area. He said the real estate work was slow because Mr Mintz was always away from the state for work, and because of the contractor’s revolving doors.

The main building has an outdoor heated terrace of approximately 3,000 square feet.


Dominique Volyon

“I fired more than 80 people,” he said, eventually finding a talented local worker. Some of them have been with him for over 20 years now. “This is New Mexico and things are pretty loose.”

He said he had rolled up a flight contractor from Europe to install a zinc roof cladding.

Mintz said he is currently leaving New Mexico and will sell the property without moving to the main building. It may seem strange, but he “grown up from the idea that he was there,” he said. He said he dreamed of living in the sea and going fishing. For him, he said it was more about the journey to develop real estate than actually living there.

According to Zillow, the state’s second most expensive residential property is Zolo Ranch near Santa Fe, once owned by the disgraceful financier Jeffrey Epstein. According to Sotheby’s International Realty listing agent Neil Lyon, Epstein’s property has recently reduced its asking price from $ 27.5 million to $ 21.5 million.

Write in Catherine Clark [email protected]

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