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Roomy, but tough to make intimate

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 24, 2000

If you're one of those people who gets warm and cozy thinking about the Cold War, perhaps you might find home, sweet home in a former nuclear missile silo.

A Kansas couple who live in a 15,000-square-foot former missile site burrowed into the prairie outside Topeka, Kan., love their home so much they're trying to persuade others to adopt their lifestyle. They now sell former missile sites through their business, 20th Century Castles. Ed Pedan, a former high school sociology professor, thinks the sites are as significant historically as castles from the Middle Ages.

The Pedans' garage/workshop is the voluminous space where an Atlas-E missile once lay on its side in the early 1960s. To get to the couple's 2,800-square-foot living quarters, visitors must pass through a 120-foot corrugated metal tube.

So far, the couple have sold about 18 missile bases or silos across the country, according to their Web site. They have eight or so of the bases listed for sale on the site ( Asking prices range from $85,000 to $2-million.

For those interested in something a bit more rustic

A British company is offering to disassemble 17th and 18th century French barns and ship them to the United States.

The Renaissance Barn Co. specializes in locating, restoring, selling and shipping the structures, which come complete with period materials, including tiles, slates, bricks and timbers.

The company offers virtual tours, photographs and illustrations of sample structures as well as houses that have been remodeled using materials from the old structures at Minimum bid for your own 300-year-old piece of the French countryside: $150,000.

Homebuyer U

The Tampa Bay Community Development Corp. is offering a free home-buying seminar from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 15 at the Ross Norton Community Center, 1426 S Greenwood Ave., Clearwater. Call (727) 442-7075 to register for the seminar, which is approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Thinking about buying a house but need to learn the basics? The Community Service Foundation offers free classes designed to help first-time home buyers through the process. A series of sequential classes will be offered from 7 to 9 p.m. July 11 and 18 at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg. A one-day seminar is planned from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 8 at the Clearwater Main Library, 100 N Osceola Ave. To register, call (727) 461-0618.

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The Community Service Foundation offers budgeting classes for people who want to buy a house but are having trouble coming up with a down payment. Classes are from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 25 and Aug. 1 at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg, and from 7 to 9 p.m. July 5 and 19 at the Foundation Village Family Center, 918 Woodlawn St., Clearwater. Call (727) 461-0618 for reservations.

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The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Florida Suncoast will offer free two-session home buyer seminars from 6 to 9 p.m. July 6 and 13 at the New Port Richey City Council chambers, 5919 Main St. Call (800) 547-0099, ext. 2507. A two-session seminar for Largo-area residents is scheduled July 11 and 18 at the Largo Library, 351 East Bay Drive. For reservations to that seminar, call (727) 587-6715, ext. 2507. Those who attend both seminars will receive a certificate that will qualify them for closing cost reductions on FHA loans.

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The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Florida Gulf Coast will offer a free series of home-buying workshops from 6 to 9:30 p.m. July 10 and 12 at Ramada Inn, 5303 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. The workshops will cover many aspects of the home-buying process, from figuring out how much home you can afford to qualifying for a mortgage. For information and registration, call (813) 371-1727.

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The Pinellas Housing Agency can tell first-time home buyers whether they qualify for down payment assistance programs. Call (727) 467-9494.

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General Home Development offers free seminars on how to buy an affordable new home with less than perfect credit and a low down payment from 11 a.m. to noon Saturdays at 4600 Fifth Ave. S, St. Petersburg. For information, call (727) 321-8719.

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First Worldwide Mortgage Corp. offers free seminars on how to avoid home-buying pitfalls from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays at 6450 Seminole Blvd., Seminole. Call (727) 398-7781 for information.

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North American Mortgage Co. offers free workshops on mortgage loans at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at its Clearwater office, 2963 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Suite 325. Attendees can get prequalified for government bond money and the FHA's 1 percent down payment program. For information and reservations, call Christine Dallape at (727) 712-3305, ext. 14.

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A workshop covering prequalifying for a mortgage, choosing a real estate agent, evaluating credit and understanding the basics of obtaining financing is offered by Allstate Mortgage & Loan from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays at 25400 U.S. 19 N, Suite 263, Clearwater. For information, call (800) 701-1186.

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Owners Equity Mortgage Corp. offers free workshops and seminars for applicants with down payment and credit problems from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. weekdays at 101 E Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs. The classes, which are geared toward first-time home buyers with low to moderate incomes, will cover all phases of home buying. For information, call (727) 942-6406 or (727) 938-6583.

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American Home Mortgage and First American Title offer "How to Buy Your First Home," which includes information on credit reports, qualifying for a mortgage and down payment assistance. Sessions are from 7 to 8 p.m. the second and last Tuesdays of each month. Call (727) 446-2911 for reservations and locations in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

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Free workshops, presented by Buccaneer Mortgage and Brophy Real Estate in St. Petersburg and Seminole, are offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first and last Tuesdays of each month. For information or reservations, call (727) 898-2827 or (727) 522-6666.

A free workshop especially for those with down payment and credit problems is offered from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. The workshop is sponsored by AGA Mortgage Service and Realty Associates at its office at 11350 66th St. N, Suite 104, Largo. For information and reservations, call Mary Ann at (727) 541-3390 or Joe at (727) 531-1502.

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