- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2004

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani promises to be among the first people without a protective moonsuit to walk through the doors of a building that was the site of a deadly anthrax attack more than two years ago.

The three-story American Media Inc. (AMI) building, which had been the headquarters for the National Enquirer and the Sun, was abandoned hurriedly in fall 2001 after an anthrax attack killed a Sun photo editor. It has stood empty because no one wanted to touch the place.

Mr. Giuliani’s consulting firm is teaming up with the hazardous-waste cleanup company Sabre Technical Services to disinfect the quarantined, fenced-off building at a cost of millions of dollars and use it as the headquarters for a new antiterrorism venture called Bio-One.

Bio-One will develop anthrax-cleanup techniques and offer disaster and emergency-preparedness expertise to companies. About 100 employees will move into the building, perhaps early next year.

Mr. Giuliani, who rallied the nation after the September 11 terrorist attacks, said cleaning the building will be one more way to demonstrate resolve against terrorism.

“You take what they do to you, you try to handle it as effectively as you can, and then you try to turn it around and get something good out of it,” he said. “This building will be an example of that, of how to deal with it in the future.”

The arrival of anthrax in the mail at the AMI building was the first in a series of still-unsolved attacks in the District, New York and elsewhere that killed five persons, emptied Senate offices and a major mail-processing center, and rattled a nation shaken by the terrorist attacks a month earlier.

Sabre Technical Services successfully cleaned the government offices in the District and will use a similar technique in Boca Raton.

The cleanup is expected to take 24 hours but will require months of preparation and cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Health Department. Workers in moonsuits entered the building in recent weeks to make preliminary surveys and began destroying some contents.

The move back into the AMI building “should be a testament to everyone in the community that the end result is going to be very safe and one that can be replicated where necessary, all over the country and all over the world,” Mr. Giuliani said.

In 1985, the AMI building was appraised at $4.7 million. AMI officials said they put $20 million worth of renovations and equipment into the 65,000-square-foot building. After the anthrax attack, AMI moved its headquarters nearby, and the quarantined building was declared worthless by the county appraiser.

AMI sold the place for $40,000 to a real-estate investor, who is leasing it to Mr. Giuliani and his partners for an undisclosed price. The cost of the cleanup has not been disclosed.

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