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. Lester

    You couldn't pay me enough to work in that building. Every crazy terrorist has it as their 1# target now.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • jqent

      Well, since a lot of it is already rented, apparently "some" people are willing to work there.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    When it is finished, who will be brave enough to work in it?

    April 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. *Virtuous Corpse


    April 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here

    You're trying to take this a new direction and it won't work. we all know a few fishy things about 9/11 but have some respect for the victem's of 9.11

    April 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here

      Here, jacky jacky jacky!

      April 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dot8

    They should not be called "World Trade Center" because it includes terrorists that do bad business with the U.S.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. *Virtuous Corpse

    @Lester. Maybe try getting a job in the alleyways of Americas inner cities. No terrorist would dar hurt you there.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Curtis

    Its trully unbelievable that our government can cover up a conspiracy like 9/11 but judging from the intelligence of the general public....its not hard to see why.

    Our country is doomed.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Craig

    Welcome back skyline!

    April 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Norm

    Let's make the Tower of Babel even higher for the crazy religious fanatics to knock down in the name of their God.

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

      Damn right! Build it higher, better and bigger. They knock it down again (highly unlikely), then you do the same. Build it higher yet again. Show them that their ridiculous attacks may wound us and we may stop for a moment to mourn our dead. In the end, we will emerge stronger, with more resolve, conviction, and determination to preserve our way of life. Freedom.

      May 1, 2012 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. TheTruth

    Read the book The Harbinger from Jonathan Cahn. You want insight as to what God has to say about our nation? Read it. It is time for our nation to turn from the idols of money, materialism, and entertainment. Independence means independence from our Creator. We need to seek the face of God and turn from our ways. Jesus Christ came to set us free from our sin and to give us true eternal life. Seek His face and live. Without Christ, we are without God and without hope in the world because in Jesus we have been reconciled to God. It's time to forgive. It's time to heal. Let go and turn to the Living God.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Norm

    Just kidding lol!

    April 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ahkmed the Terror Guy

    Really. It was no problem for me to sneak into the USA and poison unguarded water supplies. I just disguised myself as an illegal Mexican with a can of anthrax labled 'refried beans'.
    If "the terroroists" wanted you dead, you would be dead by now.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here

      It's really the US governement who wants us all dead, right? RIGHT? SMH.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheryl ©™

      Oh, Ahkmed...that is just the most chic scarf on your head...
      What kind of cologne *is* that, anyway?
      I think that terrorists are so...you know...hot.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pop

    When One World Trade Center is completed....

    NY Stock Exchange and Dow Jones will crash the market again. What's the problem? Messed up future and history.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jj

    I hope they haven't built another target.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chuck D

    Tell Larry Silverstein not to "pull" this building. CNN blocking this comment is all the proof I need that 9/11 was an inside job.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here

      I see the comment just fine!

      April 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • markk

      you sir are an idiot

      April 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • John80

      Really? All the proof you need? I hope you're not in charge of anything important.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken in MD

      ...and man never really landed on the moon either. Nutjob.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
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