Tabloid publisher American Media Inc.’s former headquarters was reopened Thursday after years of decontamination from an anthrax attack that killed a photo editor six years ago. Boca Raton Mayor Steve Abrams said the building’s opening sends a message to those who carried out the still-unsolved attack on the former offices of the National Enquirer, Sun and Globe newspapers.
“We will not be intimidated by terrorism in Boca Raton or anywhere else as Americans,” Abrams said.
File cabinets line the newsrooms still marked with Sun and Globe signs. Some file drawers still bear labels like “JFK JR.” A painted Manhattan street mural and display and a newsstand is on the third floor. The building was the nation’s first target in the anthrax mailings that killed five people across the nation and started a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Bob Stevens, an AMI photo editor, died Oct. 5, 2001, after being exposed to anthrax in an envelope mailed to the building, which was then quarantined. The publisher moved away and the cleanup effort began in July 2004.
Developer David Rustine bought the building in April 2003 for $40,000 from the media company because he liked its location. He will have his own offices there but does not yet have tenants for the 67,200-square-foot structure. Rustine said he and his wife, Rebecca, spent millions of dollars on the decontamination process and on maintaining the building. Rebecca Rustine said the building is safe and brought her two poodles to the opening.
“I would invite my family in here,” she said. “I have my pets in here.”