[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 ofÂ One World Trade Center tower to a height of 1,271 feet -Â surpassing the frame of the Empire State Building, which is currently New York's tallest skyscraper, byÂ 21 feet.
Built on what was referred to as ground zero in Lower Manhattan, the building isÂ 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 willÂ have three top-floor observation decks. ItsÂ first 90 floors will be designated for office space, andÂ 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 isÂ bringing a major milestone to the city and country, saidÂ 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 weâ€™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 -Â Long Island, New Jersey, New York -Â it's just a statement for the region that weâ€™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 theÂ buildingÂ 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.
The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here, your name made me laugh so much – SO appropriate for cnn.com user comments!
Thanks! When choosing a name, choose wisely. I'm liking yours, as well!
I'm not crazy about the design, but as a born New Yorker, I'm really glad to see this progress.
This Just In;
Obama administration's top environmental official in the oil-rich South and Southwest region has resigned after Republicans targeted him over remarks made two years ago when he used the word "crucify" to describe his approach to enforcement.
"1776" feet. Nice.
Unfortunately, the inhabitable floors will not reach 1776 feet. Not even close.
I bet al-Qaeda is planning to blow it up on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks 10 years from now. What a waste of money.
Naw, the cia can't afford to finance another multi- billion dollar cover up.
I was going to say what a stupid comment then I saw your name.
So you are saying we should no longer build anything because AQ may plan to blow it up?
It just took 10 years and still ain't done. China built 10x more high speed railways and numerous cities the size of NYC in that same period.
That's because the United States is already in recession and China isn't.
Yeah, it took them long enough. But the Chinese may have built ten cities in that time, but they were built out of plywood and popsicle sticks.
China doesn't have to deal with the unions.
Thank you for your beautiful post.
I don't think that we're in terror anymore.
I sincerely hope and pray you are right.
What an amazing display of American strength – we built a 100-story building in 10 short years. That'll show the terrorists – it takes us 1/10th of a century to replace a building. We won WWII and got the moon faster. This is pathetic.
Most of the 10 years was wasted with political in-fighting. The actual building of the tower hasn't taken 10 years.
God bless all the people behind this beautiful new building. It just proves that America will stand proud and recover from this horrible 9/11 attack.
God has nothing to do with it, if the sky king really cared about America, he would would have smitten the terrorists, old testament style.
@mickey Have you seen and smelled the arab people? I think he smited them pretty good.
As a survivor of the 9/11 attacks, I can say that seeing this get completed helps personally turn a page for me. I'm glad to see it nearly finished.
To those who say that it will be blown up again, re-evaluate your American spirit. We are not a nation that should cower to terrorists and not rebuild because of fear. The only way to overcome is to move forward, and it's what the victims of those attacks would have wanted this nation to do.
The original WTC towers were at one time the tallest in the world (not just in NYC). I can remember standing atop one of the towers in 1975. It was the most awe-inspiring view imaginable. I'm sure that still holds true.
Its amazing how people still think that Muslim terrorists brought down the towers. It was clearly an inside job (or a well planned mossad operation). The 2 towers fell down just like the third building did. All of the building on this site were brought down through controlled demolition. 99.9% Muslims believe it was done by the Jews. Hundreds of Engineers and Architects in the USA believe it was a controlled demolition. The steel structure does not collapse in a free fall when burnt at high temperature...it actually bends. Dumb Americans are still living in a fantasy world of Muslims terrorism. Don't feed yourself with propoganda from main stream media. Look up independent sources on what really happened.
and we never went to the moon, right?
You forgot to mention those two planes were a mirage too.
You lost me after your username.
So much negativity here. Remember, the attack may have happened in NYC but it was against all of America. I think some folks are just jealous of NYC. It's a great city and this is something all Americans should be proud of.
I wonder if they built it jet plane-proof.