According to the Daily Mail, the Flag Building, also known as the Super Powers building, is a massive seven-story, 377,000-square-foot complex that cost $145 million and was the tallest building in Clearwater, Fla. when it opened in November 2013. Now, new pictures have emerged of the Scientology headquarters, which is regularly frequented by Scientologist celebrities such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, in the basement, a rarity in Florida, are huge kitchen and dining areas. The second and third floors contain offices and Scientology course rooms for training. The upper floors have more than 300 small rooms for “auditing,” Scientology’s core counseling practice. Large spaces on the fifth floor are dedicated to the Super Power program, a series of 12 “rundowns” that combine auditing with drills involving machines. For instance, participants will be spun on a gyroscope-like wheel, spend time in a sound chamber, sniff vials emitting fragrances and experience changes in gravitational pull. The aim is to sharpen what church founder, L. Ron Hubbard, called man’s 57 “perceptics” — sight, smell, taste, touch, blood circulation, depth perception, solidity and awareness of awareness. Yes. You read that right. On the sixth floor is a 74-foot circular running track. Scientologists will go around it until they have a personal moment of enlightenment called a cognition. Hubbard called this the “Cause Resurgence Rundown.”
According to the St. Petersburg Times, the Church owns 67 buildings over 10 square miles, which includes motels, training centers, offices for “Special Affairs” and “religious retreats” for visiting Scientologists, who often pay upwards of $100,000 each for services.
Ex-Scientologist Mike Rinder has this to say about it, “Clearwater should have a prosperous, flourishing downtown, but instead it’s the dead zone. People steer clear of it because it’s Zombie Land. The generally impression of Scientology to them is sinister and secretive and they don’t want to go anywhere near it. Most of them are too afraid to say anything critical as they fear repercussions.” Rinder served on the Church’s Board of Directors and was executive director of its office of special affairs, overseeing the corporate, legal and public relations matters of the Church at the international level. However, he defected in 2007, and he left his mother, father, wife and two kids to flee from the Church and is now an outspoken critic.
Construction started on the Flag Building in 1998, and after starting and stopping numerous times, accruing a cumulative fine of $413,500 for code violations, the building finally opened in 2013.