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. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Does anybody here honestly think that terrorists are going to fly another plane into the new tower? If their whole goal was just to attack large buildings, why haven't they targeted the Sears Tower?

    April 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blow It Up

      Because we in Chicago wouldn't let them near it, unlike the semi-evolved chimps who inhabit Sewer York.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      It was on the list, make no mistake.
      The financial center of the US being NY, it was a better target.
      Blow it up is a troll, and we shouldn't be giving it the time of day.
      I won't be, anymore.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • esoteric1

      too dangerous....never mess with Chicago.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blow It Up

      What troll? My main beef with al-Qaeda is that they didn't finish the job and destroy the rest of that cesspool. Shoddy work by them.

      Sewer York deserves to burn.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trix

      Oh, bull. You just want to say "Serwer York", in an attempt to look clever. Fail.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. James

    somewhere in the top 10 floors is a missle guidance system designed to take out any airborn terrorist threat...

    April 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike in Denver

    For a point of comparison, it only took 1 year and 45 days to complete the Empire State Building..

    April 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Quick: how long did it take before it was fully occupied, and actually became self-sufficient?
      That doesn't take away from this building, half of which is *already* leased...

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

      There was a lot more red tape involved in this endeavor.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • duh

      not much comparison – there was much less involvement in the building of the empire state building... this is a classic example of "too many cooks spoil the broth"

      April 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ken margo

    We can't live in constant fear of terrorist attacks! We must continue to build bigger and better than ever. Maybe if the terrorists try to solve issues, like Syria, the lack of economic growth in the middle east, lack of woman's rights, etc..... Maybe the terrorist won't be so angry at everyone else and look in the mirror.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Guest

    Hopefully when they are complete, this will rebound JOBS & the economy. When the old ones fell, everything else did as well, except for fuel prices.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nikki

    Does it look like flipping the east a giant bird???

    April 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. YouMeanNothing

    I couldn't care less how you or the rest of this country felt about me or the city of New York. That's my point. I don't care about you people. We aren't the same. Your life means no more to me than anyone born outside of this country. You're not more human than an Iraqi. You're life doesn't hold greater value. You think that a country of origin is supposed to make me feel more for some stupid pinhead racist just because we pay taxes to the same government? You're an idiot if you think the goal of intelligent human beings is to think and act like you morons. Keep your phony sympathy. I never asked for it. It means nothing.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. YouMeanNothing

    You worship money, bask in your ignorance, and comment on values? Your view of the world is dictated by "news" websites and loud mouthed commentators. I'd rather be viewed as pretentious than to sound like the ignorant hick you are.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gregory Faith

    Congradulations New Yorkers! From the ashes rises another symbol of FREEDOM. Thanks to all who are building the new tower. I can't wait for it to be completed and being occupied. I plan on a visit months after it is completed and fully operational. What an achievment. Everyone deserves a pat on the back!

    April 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Martyr2

    Honestly, in this day and age I would not want to put my company in the tallest symbol of capitalism in a city that was already hit once by extremists. Not to mention too big for adequate and timely evacuation. Any CEO that asks his employees to work in such a place obviously doesn't value their safety.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Thezel

    take that Osama Bin Laden/Al Qaeda. Your leader is dead, you still live for fear in caves like animals, and we've only gotten stronger.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bxgrrl

    Yes, it's a very nice young building, growing up fast. Can we get over it now?

    April 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • whoa

      I'm thinking the same as you, but show a little respect at least. This is in remembrance of those we lost that day.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Hat Brigade Is Here

      Get over yourself, little grrl.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      bx as in the bronx? makes sense

      April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Hat Brigade Is Here

      Oh. Bronx Girl. So hard to write that out.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      WE?...YOU can get over it OR just go away................

      April 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bookoo

      It will be topped out just in time to be vaporized by Non-Governmental Jihadists supported by Iran. They will use speedboats offloaded from freighters to deliver the goods.

      There will be no proof of who did it so Iran will go unpunished, per the UN.

      April 30, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Needz

    hola ...great news .. i love ny

    April 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PK

    We'll never learn..........

    April 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Danube

    I don't like the name "Freedom Tower." I wish they rename it World Trade Center...

    April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
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