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. Canada: America's Hat

    The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here, your name made me laugh so much – SO appropriate for cnn.com user comments!

    April 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here

      Thanks! When choosing a name, choose wisely. I'm liking yours, as well!

      April 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John80

    I'm not crazy about the design, but as a born New Yorker, I'm really glad to see this progress.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dscon

    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.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nick Bruiser

    Good stuff.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chubbs

    "1776" feet. Nice.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Unfortunately, the inhabitable floors will not reach 1776 feet. Not even close.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. goodegyptian

    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.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      Naw, the cia can't afford to finance another multi- billion dollar cover up.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      I was going to say what a stupid comment then I saw your name.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • seatteite09

      So you are saying we should no longer build anything because AQ may plan to blow it up?

      April 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Krunger

    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.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • goodegyptian

      That's because the United States is already in recession and China isn't.

      April 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      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.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      China doesn't have to deal with the unions.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    @ EmeraldCity:
    Thank you for your beautiful post.
    I don't think that we're in terror anymore.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rajiv

      I sincerely hope and pray you are right.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • danabashed

      horse manure!!!

      May 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    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.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Most of the 10 years was wasted with political in-fighting. The actual building of the tower hasn't taken 10 years.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joyce

    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.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      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.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      @mickey Have you seen and smelled the arab people? I think he smited them pretty good.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RalphieD

    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.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here

      Agreed! Bravo!

      April 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. zephyr99

    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.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Abu Shahid

    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.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      and we never went to the moon, right?

      April 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • zephyr99

      You forgot to mention those two planes were a mirage too.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here

      You lost me after your username.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Drake

    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.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. osama

    I wonder if they built it jet plane-proof.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
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