[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.
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.
Give me a new job as Legal Assistance! I'll go and work at One WTC! Back in the early 90's
I worked as a cook at 2 WTC! I really loved my prepping station. I could watch the morning sun rise
over the Hudson River! I was working on the 47th floor! I loved the view! An I loved how the light
shined through the windows! I miss the orginal towers! But, after ten years, its nice to see One
WTC across the Hudson River again! Know just make 2 WTC, look like 1 One WTC and were set!
Also! Refurbish the Global SPHERE and place it back! Put it next to the new WTC Memorial Building.
That SPHERE is very Important artifact, It with stood the fall of the Twin Towers! It symbol is more
important than EVER.
Richard & Gigi/My Service Dog.
Why not two 'Freedom Towers? NYC got it's two front teeth knocked out by terrorists, and we are supposed to accept 'this' as the 'restoration' of New York city's skyline?
Why not THREE buildings since there were THREE blown up that day. America you have become so naive and dumb down it almost unbearable. You keep listening to and believing these criminals that lie and get caught again and again. Bush didn't organize 9/11. He's too stupid for that. He was a puppet just like Clinton, Bush Sr, and Obama. There is an organized criminal network running the show and you better wake up. Hell even JFK knew there was and made a public speech announcing it and calling on the people and press to help. Your future and that of your children depends on you waking up and seeing what has become of the world. Believe nothing, question everything.
It's a Junkpile. Plain and simple.
Great milestone, you can see the tower from Darien CT. Man has always appreciated symbolic structures. Those that don't get it are most likely on food stamps and as lazy as the day is long
What does being on food stamps have to do with appreciating symbolism? This makes no sense.
Cheese, you comment is disengenous. Stop it.
America is re-build the building call "freedom tower".. Good luck and God bless. We know this is the symbol of the city know to many immigrants came to America for more hope, success and prosper life. New York, is the place you can use to make this country known through out the world...Peace to come...
It's a Jewish Empire State Building.
Massive cost overruns, no specific purpose, foolish pride. America.
Millions of sq. ft. of office space. No specific purpose? Don't be a troll.
One World Trade Center will be up and 1776 feet tall. And Bin Laden is approximately 1776 feet below the ground - at the bottom of the Indian ocean. It took a decade but this is a welcome change.
hmm, just another easy target to attack once again!
Like the London 2012 Summer Olympics! Get the surface to air missles ready, London!
"The Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower"
It will ALWAYS be the Sears tower. Sorry Willis.
I agree 100%!
when i look at this thing i say "that 's where all those people died"! If i were asked to work there i would say "that's where all those people died"! if i go there i will say "that's where all those people died". if my kids ask about it "that's where all those people died".....why would any one want to work there....nobody should accept working in this huge memorial burial ground!!!!
I wonder how long it will be before another false flag attack happens to these buildings??
Oh wait I forgot Bush/Cheney are not in the white house now.
This is a GREAT achievement by the American people. Obama will now sell it to Iraq.
I hear you @saywhat. Cinco de Mayo! Wait. That was France. Vive le France! No. That was the Veachie (he he) regime.Remember the Alamo! No, dang it. That was John Wayne tossing a Mexican immigrant out of an airplane. What IS Israels memorable moniker?
Cinco de Mayo is most certainly not France.
The money junkies building new nest on the largest graveyard in America: Utterly disgusting!