April 30th, 2012
10:20 AM ET

One World Trade Center becomes NYC's tallest building

[Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET] More than a decade after a terrorist attack brought down New York's twin towers, their under-construction replacement became the city's tallest building on Monday.

The placement of a column of the 100th floor brought the colossal new steel structure of One World Trade Center tower to a height of 1,271 feet  surpassing the frame of the Empire State Building, which is currently New York's tallest skyscraper, by 21 feet.

Built on what was referred to as ground zero in Lower Manhattan, the building is expected to reach 1,776 feet when it is finished by early 2014. The Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower, is the country's current record holder at 1,450 feet.

The One World Trade Center building will have three top-floor observation decks. Its first 90 floors will be designated for office space, and the following 10 floors will be reserved for air conditioning, heating, and electrical equipment.

Despite years of political infighting and real estate squabbling that delayed its construction, more than half of the building has now been rented, with a tenant list that includes Conde Nast publishing company and a Chinese real estate investment firm called Vantone Holdings.

In its shadow, twin reflecting pools are situated in the footprints of where the twin towers once stood.

A memorial at the site of one of the original World Trade Center buildings.

The names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 attacks, as well as six people who died in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, are emblazoned across bronze panels ringing the pools.

The steel beams were placed atop the structure on Monday, one day before the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death. The project is bringing a major milestone to the city and country, said Mike Mennella, the construction executive who was in charge of building the first towers and is helping to build the new structure.

"Today is a day where we can really look back and say the milestones we’ve surpassed and overcome are certainly more significant than the ones ahead of us," he said. "The building is in position now where we can see it coming from the top, and see it being finished off in a very, very significant way."

As the man who built the first towers, only to watch them fall during the terrorist attacks, Mennella knows just how important it is to be able to rebuild and start a new chapter in lower Manhattan.

"It's also big in the region," he said. "Seeing this building from all over the region  Long Island, New Jersey, New York  it's just a statement for the region that we’ve reached a real milestone."

Mennella said he came to the site on September 12, 2001, amid the devastation and always hoped he'd be able to be part of an effort to rebuild. He felt it wasn't just about rebuilding an icon of New York's skyline, but about helping heal and move forward.

"I think as people look at the building from afar and then realize the site that it sits on, the memorial it adjoins and what the site is about, what was lost here, and what is now being put back together it's an exciting moment," he said.

soundoff (493 Responses)
  1. Really?

    whatever. people put so much energy into inanimate objects.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • East of Eden

      Right, we say the Earth is over-crowded but give no thought to the space we eliminated by putting these mega-cities together. Steel and glass cant feed us...

      April 30, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      zzzzzzzzzzzz.

      April 30, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Luvvy Duvvy

      Like your brain?

      April 30, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • phearis

      Like a Troll using a computer, making stupid comments about intimate objects?

      April 30, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • danabashed

      Ain't that tha truth??? I bet this one will be knocked over by Al Qaeda by the end of this year!!!

      April 30, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • danabashed

      my comment below directed at your post. This dang CNN is a bunch of tools...they can't even put replies in the right places!

      April 30, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • cs

      Because living outside in the cold/heat and rain/snow is not pleasant.

      April 30, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Shavonte Chestnut

    This new structure will be more bricks to attack again. this is crazy. WE CAN SURELY LOOK UP AND KNOW THAT OUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR. THIS IS MANS PRIDE IN STRONGER FORM. A SIGN OF THE TIMES POINTING US TO THE CLOSE OF THIS EARTHS HISTORY. JESUS IS SOON RETURNING AND THIS IS JUST A SIGN OF HIS SOON RETURN.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Sometimes you feel like a nut...

      hahahaha

      April 30, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Brooklyn Boy

      ...and this has some bearing on reality how???

      April 30, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      what a nut job

      April 30, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • alex

      makes me lol

      April 30, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Elisa Jordana

      @Shavonte Chestnutjob - What does Jesus have to do with this building? Is he a crane operator or something?

      April 30, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • D. Awning

      You need to see a shrink cause you are whacked out! I feels sorry for you that you have to live out the rest of your life believing that crap.....good luck!

      April 30, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • bfpiercelk

      el oh el

      April 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in Denver

      Have you asked your therapist about your current dosage?

      April 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Thayer

    I think it's great they rebuilt a new better building but who would want to work in it? Maybe I'm a coward but I sure as heck wouldn't.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. art

    What? another ugly building? Build something beautiful.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. dutspup

    Whats the best way to replace two old Asbestos riddled buildings and have an excuse to go to war?

    April 30, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • nightsun2k7

      Couldn't agree with you more on your comment....cheers.

      April 30, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Neutronstar

    I would like to be the first person to buy the first NY hot dog sold from a vendor at OWTC when it opens – okay, I'm weird – so what.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. Luvvy Duvvy

    Once again CNN making a story that's been on the internet for days look like breaking news. Amazing.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • jim

      It's a lot cheaper that way. Just cut and paste other sites' articles.

      April 30, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Greg

    I hope there's a SAM site on the top of that tower

    April 30, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • SlaveWorld

      Why? We have the best Air Defense in the World and it didn't work on 9-11.

      April 30, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. coastlinecascot

    Only ten years? the government is so efficient.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. why?

    With a mosque next door it should be safe.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. reality check

    I worked in two wtc on 9/11 and think that this building is a joke. The building is nothing more than an attempt at pataki and silverstein being able to justify the insurance and stimulus money they scanned out if the tragedy. Physically its a ghost of the original choice design. The setback and pedistal make it look small and uninspiring. Instead of pandering to the families they should have rebuilt the original towers taller and safer right in the footprints of the original. Don't even get me started on the billions for the subway upgrade.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Peter Walukiewicz

    That is NOT the World Trade Center. Osama bin Ladin knocked down the Twin Towers, and corrupt New York politicians removed them from the NYC skyline, forever...

    April 30, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. BD70

    Amazing...but what about people who are totally afraid of heights? I could never take a job in a building that tall unless they had office space on the third floor. I have worked on the 18th floor of a building once...they had to give me an office way away from the windows.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Royal

    "The steel beams will be placed atop the structure on Monday, one day before the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death. "

    What steel beams? This paragraph starts like it is in the middle of a thought. Did the author mean the final steel beams–like for the radio towers? Did anyone proofread this article? I swear, it freaks me out how many news articles I read each week from "professional" sites that have typos and errors in the text. Worse that they say so little and ignore obvious and important gaps in their "journalism."

    April 30, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. md

    It is simply beautiful to see the commitment and energy behind this project. It is obviously a sign of hope, perseverance, freedom and more importantly the foundation of the principals which this country was build on.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
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