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Last Updated

27 Aug 2003

Source: Boca Raton News (FL), August 27, 2003

Owner of Anthrax building in Boca starts Web site

Link intended to keep public informed on pending clean up

by Aaron Shea

The new owner of the infamous American Media Inc. headquarters off Yamato Road has launched a Web site to keep locals informed on the progress of the clean up of the anthrax-riddled building.

The site, www.buildingupdates.com, will have up-to-date information on the clean up, inform the community of project milestones and provide links to information explaining the science behind the remediation process.

"Everyone in Boca Raton has a vested interest in this process," said David Rustine, president of Boca Raton-based Crown Companies and the owner of the former AMI headquarters. "A top priority for this project is to keep the community informed about each step of the process."

Rustine purchased the 67,000-square-foot complex at 5401 Broken Sound Boulevard for $40,000 in April and assumed the responsibility for the clean up.

The facility, which was once valued in the millions and was home to such publications as the National Enquirer and Globe, was quarantined in October 2001 following the death of tabloid photographer Bob Stevens (case 5) and subsequent discovery of anthrax spores throughout the building.

Before the clean up can begin Rustine has to gain approval from the Palm Beach County Health Department, the state and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

No date has been set for the decontamination of the building, which Rustine intends to lease out once the clean up is complete.

To clean the building, Rustine has contracted Maryland-based Marcor Remediation Inc., which was involved in the decontamination of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington.

Federal estimates for the clean up have ranged from $20 million to $100 million and AMI officials had estimated a $7 million price tag for a clean up. Rustine has said the costs would be below those assessments.

To keep the cost down, Rustine will not decontaminate AMI's vast library of odd and famous photos he inherited when he purchased the building. Photographs such as Elvis Presley in his coffin in Graceland will be destroyed.