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DALLAS-Terrorist attacks, a sagging economy and yesterday’s plummeting stock market will rein in construction costs, but most likely won’t keep them from rising, GlobeSt.com has been told.

Just one day before the Sept. 11 attacks, Dallas-based Turner Corp., a barometer for the building industry, was poised to release its third quarter cost index. Like the rest of the nation, everything came to a screeching halt.

In a special release to GlobeSt.com, Karl F. Almstead, Turner’s vice president in New York City, calculates the cost index jumped one point to 614 or .33% higher than this Q2 and 2.67% more than second quarter 2000. A definite slowdown in the acceleration rate for the building industry’s costs will finally hit home in the fourth quarter. Almstead predicts it will taper to about half of the third quarter spike. “My sense is it’s going to continue to go up, but at a much, much slower pace,” he says. “What it reflects, in certain areas of the country, is that work is slowing down, but there’s a lot of work elsewhere in the country.”

Almstead won’t venture a guess as to how many building projects might be tabled until the present situation is tempered. Yesterday, Park Place Entertainment, the world’s largest gaming company, said it is delaying construction of a 29-story, $475-million hotel tower at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Turner Construction, like the nation, is grappling with the aftershock of the terrorists’ attacks. It has hard-hat teams out in full force in New York City, where the firm has four million sf under construction and another two million sf of work ongoing in fit-out space, all in Midtown. Turner also is one of five contractors–AMEC, Bovis Lend Lease, Plaza Construction and Tully and DeFoe Construction Equipment–under retainer agreements with the city’s Department of Design & Construction, which has put them on the job for Manhattan’s initial debris removal and demolition. The time-consuming process has construction crews working side by side with rescuers who continue to hand sift rubble for remains of 5,422 missing people. Only 201 deaths have been confirmed and no one has been pulled from the collapsed buildings since Wednesday.

Peter Davoren, Turner senior vice president, tells GlobeSt.com that there are 225 to 300 Turner workers in the ground zero team. “The important message is we’re not stripping any of our current projects to do this work,” he says. The Midtown jobs must proceed to deliver needed space to the crippled office district. “It’s very, very important that we build that space and get it completed as soon as possible,” he stresses.

Turner will focus on World Trade Center 7 and building 6, which Davoren says is on the verge of collapsing. Part of World Trade Center 7 is leaning against the Verizon building, a 32-story, 1.1 million-sf office structure considered a critical telecommunications portal for the financial district. A Tishman Construction contact tells GlobeSt.com that no date is set to start separating the structures, but the Verizon building’s repair is a top priority because it contains major switches.

The contact says debris is gone from the roof and set-backs of the Verizon building, situated at 140 West St. Firefighting efforts to extinguish WTC rekindles is driving water into the basement and it’s an ongoing task to keep it pumped out. New risers to get power to switches are being installed to the high-rise, which has been deemed structurally sound. “The main objective is to get the telephone switches up and running and telecommunications restored as quickly as possible because all the companies downtown obviously will need that to restart operations,” the Tishman contact emphasizes.

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