Volume 37, Issue 8, August 2002


Apogee Credits Good Product Mix to Increased 2002 Earnings

In its 2002 Annual Report, Apogee Enterprises Inc. of Minneapolis credits its 25-percent earnings increase in architectural services and products to a favorable product mix, good cost controls and operating improvements. In fiscal 2002 the segment contributed more than 75 percent of its operating earnings on 60 percent of Apogee’s revenues.

According to Apogee, despite an economic slowdown, the segment remained strong until the construction industry slowed down in the fourth quarter. With a backlog of $190 million, in the second half of fiscal 2002 Apogee says it saw a shift from shorter to longer lead-time projects, meaning less predictable schedules. However, some of the regions its companies serve have remained strong, and Apogee says it has been sending additional project managers to those areas for assistance.

Likewise, according to the report, Apogee is expecting a “soft” landing for construction due to lower interest rates and office vacancies compared to the last downturn. The company says it expects office construction to rebound later this year, and expects a slower first half and flat to low single-digit growth in architectural revenues for fiscal 2003.

Is Flour City Out of Business?
On August 27, 2001, the one-time giant contract glazing firm, Flour City International Inc. of Johnson City, Tenn., announced the termination of several contracts, including ones for the Random House World Headquarters, the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower and the Trump World Towers. 

What has since become of Flour City? According to the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce the company officially is out of business. Several attempts to contact the company lead to wrong numbers. On one occasion the woman at the other end of the line said she believed her number used to be that of Flour City.

Plans to Implode Bank One Tower on Hold
Texas billionaire Ed Bass’s plans to demolish the 28-year-old Bank One Tower in Fort Worth—the city’s first glass-skin building—have been put on hold temporarily.

The 35-story tower was damaged by a tornado on March 28, 2000, and has remained boarded up since. In March of 2001, Bass purchased the building for $3.8 million with plans to implode it and build a parking lot in its place. He ordered that all asbestos be removed from the building before construction was to begin, even though state regulations don’t require such “thoroughness.” But, according to the Wall Street Journal, “the removal of some asbestos led to the discovery of more asbestos.”

By early 2002 Bass put his plans to demolish the building on hold, and city officials “fearing a fire hazard from rotting plywood on the building, demanded that [it] be replaced with fire-proof metal,” which would cost approximately $1 million.

Bass is now seeking financial support from Fort Worth’s city council and is “mulling a package of incentives that could include tax breaks and donated city services,” reported the Journal. If help is granted, new plans to disassemble the building are expected to be finished by the end of next year. However, now that more asbestos has been found, state health officials will have to re-examine the project to determine the safest course of action. 


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