Atta's Apartment Slated for Demolition
9/11 Hijackers' Florida Apartment Demolished
AOL News - March 1, 2010
A grim reminder of the 9/11 terror attacks bit the dust Friday, literally, when a Florida apartment building previously occupied by al-Qaida hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi was bulldozed by the property's new owner.
"It is one of life's little treats to be able to demolish a property like that, where a monster used to reside," investor Bryan Grosman was quoted as saying by NBC Miami.
Grosman said he soon would replace the two-story, 13-unit apartment with a pool and a parking lot to service a nearby property that he also owns. Besides its terrorist associations, the apartment at 1818 Jackson St. in Hollywood, Fla., was scheduled for demolition because of about 55 safety code violations since 1999.
Atta and al-Shehhi are recorded as living in the residence for two months in spring 2000, leaving behind a trail of food, refuse and discarded clothing, according to Just News. The final occupant of apartment 3A, where the terrorists lived, was Madelyn Karpowicz, a 65-year-old woman who told The Associated Press she knew of the 9/11 connection.
"At first it was a little disconcerting," she said last month. "There were times when I said, 'God, do I want to live in an apartment that was used by murderers?'" The AP also noted that Karpowicz and the other remaining tenants accepted Grosman's offer to vacate the premises by Jan. 31 in exchange for one month's free rent.
The building was erected in 1962 and last valued at $589,000. It was considered a "dump" by many former renters, reported CBS affiliate Local 4: "Leaves, beer cans and old newspapers litter[ed] the entrance."
It is but one of the numerous different properties throughout South Florida that members of the cell of hijackers rented while receiving commercial piloting lessons at various area flight schools, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. Other locales included Nokomis (on the Western edge of the peninsula) and nearby Boynton Beach. The St. Petersburg Times has a map pinpointing the path of the terrorists across the state in the months before Sept. 11, 2001.
Friday, "a handful of neighbors stood in the street out front taking photos and lauding the destruction of the building," as it came down, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Some of them had even interacted with the men during their stay. In the initial wake of the attacks, many Florida residents came forward with stories of their mundane yet retrospectively sinister encounters with the suicidal attackers.
For instance, the manager of a sports bar a few blocks away from the recently demolished building recalled his tense encounter with Atta, al-Shehhi and another hijacker just three days before 9/11. As British newspaper The Telegraph explained back in 2001:
Tony Amos, the manager of Shuckums Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Hollywood, just north of Miami, was interviewed by the FBI, and he and his barman and a waitress all identified Atta and his cousin as some hard drinkers who propped up the bar last Friday [Sept. 8, 2001].
Atta's bill for three hours of vodka drinking came to $48. When he drunkenly disputed the charge, Mr. Amos intervened. "Of course I can pay the bill," Atta told him. "I'm an airline pilot."