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. Rajiv

    The place must be haunted. The authorities should have built a garden or shrine to help release the disturbed souls of those who died an untimely death on that fateful September morning. May these souls rest in peace. OM SAI RAM.

    April 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jinpei

      Um, they did, brainiac. "In its shadow, twin reflecting pools are situated in the footprints of where the twin towers once stood."

      April 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike T

      They did and it's massive and beautiful. Google is your friend.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Campbell

      Ummmmm the built two very inspiring memorials to the souls that were lost on that say. I think they did a great job with a unique idea to memorialize the location. It brings inner peace along with tranquility. It's elemental and dynamic yet simple and beautiful.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Realdirect

    Hope the U.S. don't destroy the one.......

    April 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jinpei

      You should really learn to talk in complete sentences before spouting nutjob conspiracy theories.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rachels

    How silly.

    April 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sun.tzu

    Of course they will attack it again. This thing is just a fat target, a "look at me" stupid dare to terrorists. They did it once, they will do it again.

    April 30, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jinpei

      Highly unlikely for far to many reasons to go into here.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      How come they haven't attacked the Sears Tower then?

      April 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sun.tzu

    A good warrior will not repeat his previous tactic. While the enemy concentrates on highjacked planes a small nuke will be easily brought there in a Yellow Cab.

    April 30, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here

      What is your address? I'll have a taxi over to your house immediately.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Leslie B.

    I would like to know what new safety measures have been included. Is there an article somewhere that tells the important information? Escape routes to the roof? Storm cellar shelter-type stairways? What?

    April 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Campbell

      Yeah yeah. Escape to the roof!! Great plan. 3000 people on the roof of a collapsing building. Yeah Yeah. That sounds smart!! I would sooner seen laundry shoots to the ground floor!!

      April 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |

    Finally, a Jew that has done something positive for our country!

    April 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Outstanding !! and may I say to al queda , the talliban , and all the haters , IN YOUR FACE !!!

    April 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Karen

    ....into the mortar of Sacrifice, we set the steel of Freedom.....

    April 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. wahoo

    it was brought down by explosives, not by jet fuel, it is only obvious

    April 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Do you know how long it would take to wire a building the size of the WTC towers, let alone two of them? For a building half the size it took 6 months. That was an empty building. How did they manage to wire the whole building without anybody noticing? It would have taken an immense crew to get the job done. Are you telling me all of them were absolutely willing to kill thousands of people? None were willing to blow the lid on it and become the hero of America? If you actually use logic and think about what you are implying by saying it was controlled demolition, you realize just how absurd the notion is.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry FFS

      Consider changing your name to yahoo (definition 1 – rude, noisy or violent person) instead of wahoo. Don't be so short sighted.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AgrippaMT

    Shortly after the new WTC tower is completed, we can be sure terrorists will strike it again. It is just a monumnet to the ego of the politicians of New York City and state.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • esoteric1

      my god what is it with you people...it is a monument to the fact that we as a country will not be defeated by a bunch of crazy valuless musilim's who think they can have a lasting, permenant impact on our great country and way of life...it ain't rocket science.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Apparently you weren't there when the buildings went down. For the non New Yorkers, you will always think like terrorists. So get a life.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • inplus

      At a cost of nearly 4 billion dollars, it makes it not only the tallest, but the most expensive building in the world.
      At close to $2,000 per square foot to build, who's going to pay the rent in this economy?


      April 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. YouMeanNothing

    I have to be honest as a born and raised NYer, and say that these comments illustrate why I can never be a patriot. I lost family in the 9-11 attacks, and it disgusts me that the lives of my relatives are an excuse to justify your disgusting racism. God, my family, and my community are the extent of my unwavering loyalty. I simply don't care about the xenophobic idiots throughout this country. Being born here doesn't make me care less about the lives lost in Afghanistan or Iraq. The life of a racist in Florida or Texas means much less to me than the lives of those murder victims in Haditha.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      At a certain point stereotypes become facts. Islam is a fundamentally flawed, violent religion and too many people abuse it's teachings on jiahd. It is not wrong to be anti-Islam.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • esoteric1

      First off being originaly from S CT, 40 miles from Manhattan , I have a real feel for what you are experiencing...the same old "NY city is the center of the universe" NY is about as "diverse" as mississippi depending on what your talking about...elitist, self aggrandizing pretentious and completely out of touch with 99% of the rest of this country. Sorry about your relatives, but you are the disgusting one...thinking your world is the whole world...but typical for so many new yorkers....stupid in a smart person outfit who thinks living in the proximity of great art and theater makes them worldly and intelligent...wrong.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      You sound like an amazing person, and I have a lot of respect for you. Not many people think that way, unfortunately. Blind patriotism and xenophobia is a good old-fashioned American value, and it's disgusting.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Aaron

    This is a nice looking buildling and is a fitting replacement for the twin towers. However, it will not be the tallest in the United States. The spire height is 1,776ft but the roof height is only 1,368ft which is shorter than the roof height of the Sears/Willis Tower's 1,450ft roof.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in Denver

      Building height is measured to the top of the spires, not the roof height.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • esoteric1

      lets jus agree its a damn big building

      April 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. esoteric1

    8 years? Nice job pulling a "go-slow" corrupt unions....totlally worth the bribes paid to Lohnny Linguini crimb family to make sure the contractor and the port Authority doesn't complain about the fact they went 300% over budget.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cnnlicksit

    I posed this question on Yahoo answers years ago... replay "Yes" or "No" to "Would you work in the Freedom Tower?".

    April 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I'd hesitate...

      April 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • esoteric1


      April 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Definitely. Man, you people are treating it like it's a coal mine or something. The likelihood of the tower being brought down again is highly unlikely. The chances of whatever building your working in now blowing up due to a gas leak is far more likely.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
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