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. Kevin Preston

    Good for the United States for rebuilding bigger and better after the 9/11 atrocities. A couple of comments on other comments: Likely no building could have withstood the fireballs created by the jet fuel, so the builders of the original WTC likely did nothing wrong; China builds according to, shall we say, "interesting" standards which very often result in buildings falling down not because of terrorist attacks but because of shoddy worksmanship; and the new WTC building site was tied up in litigation (insurance litigation, for example, where Silverman's insurers wanted the attack to be considered one occurrence instead of two, which would have capped their coverage limits and exposure at a much lower limit). All in all the new site is a credit to American refusal to bow to terrorists and sticktoitness, for lack of a better word, and the world applauds you for this (I'm Canadian).

    April 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Tin Foil Brigade Is Here

      THANK you!

      April 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alfonzo Muchanzo

    How do you respond to these comments? They're so uneducated it's sad and tragic. The fact that these same people then claim to be all knowing and have the answers to everything is even more tragic.

    You people need a good swift kick in the ass.....and then go back to school.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      You do know school is not intended to teach truth, it is to disseminate propaganda and to teach social skills.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mucho Machismo

      I agree with you 100%. btw, Avengers Assemble this weekend!

      April 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Franky

      I can honestly say neither derivates, integration, differential, the black body equation, or any other such "school learning" lessons have improved my social skills or instilled the neccessary propoganda. Unless of course, if you consider quantum mechanics propoganda for science.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Native New Yorker

    As a native new yorker, born and raised, some of these comments actually disgust me and make me unhappy to be an American amongst so many IDIOTS. The amount of ignorance being displayed is actually horrifying. It doesn't make a difference if it takes us a century to rebuild, considering the devastation we faced on 9/11 we should all be PROUD as Americans that we have reached these milestones.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • freedomdem

      and what makes others sick, is the terror on muslim countries which 911 was a result of.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • kormallain

      I'm not a New Yorker, Yet I am very proud of this accomplishment. All my love and respect to the fine people of NYC from the MidWest 🙂

      April 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bill (Louisiana)

    Ok. So much for remembering History of 9/11. They might as well have built it next to the Capital Building in DC. Why can't they build such important structures underground somewhere so they are not such a target. These buildings are definitely a target of terrorists. Hope I never have to visit there or any of my familiy or friends working in there. Put a mosque on the top floor for security purposes.

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

      Don't think the mosque would make a difference, terrorist bomb Mosques in their own country , I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have a problem doing it in ours.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katy

      I agree. Why don't they fly a flag on the top that says: "WE DARE YOU".

      April 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • winston846

      You make a serious point. Instead of building up, why don't we build down? A structure that extends 1,700 feet underground would definitely be safer from attack than a structure that extends 1,700 feet skyward.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • kormallain

      Simple, we will not live in fear, we will not run and hide, We will face adversity and overcome it with courage and resilience!

      April 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Franky

    I think there is special place reserved in the inner ring of Dante's inferno for Mr. Bin Laden, no 72 virgins for you my friend!

    April 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • r u serious ?

      even better ...i hope he gets one 72 year old virgin!

      April 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trix

      r u serious, your 'virgin' comment has me LMAO!

      April 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Katy

    This building seems to be an invitation. I would be wary of working there.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RalphieD

    If you live in fear you are giving the terrorists exactly what they wanted. You can't go through life afraid of things that may or may not happen. I can walk outside and get run over by a car, should I never leave my house? That's not the American way. When we face challenges, we aim to rise above it. Bigger and stronger than before. It saddens me to see so many people that have allowed that spirit to be marginilized by fear. And I worked there and made it out of the building alive! I'd go back there tomorrow and work there again if I could.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. larry5

    I'm surprised that the current administration has not erected a memorial for the misunderstood and persecuted Muslim freedom fighters that died on 9/11 trying to do nothing more than Allah's bidding.

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

      Go away your partisan drivel is not wanted here, when you have something intelligent to add to the conversation come back. I think the current administration erected their memorial when they tossed Mr. Bin Laden's body into the ocean, now go away.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • r u serious ?

      hey its the cable guy!

      April 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. justanotherchildofgod

    What have they done to help people get out of the upper floors if another disaster strikes? I understand that prior to September 11th they had some false sense of security with the stairwells and elevators, but now they know better. What have they changed to give people a feeling of safety should something ever require evacuation again?

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


      April 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rjp34652

    It's good to see progress, however slow it may be. The building and the grounds are quite attractive and I plan to visit the site soon to see it in person....as I did when it was nothing but rubble.

    It is my hope that those who knocked down the first trade center will allow the new site to stand in peace for a while. I'm not talking about foreign actions either.

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

    For the people who are saying what a waste or would be scared to be in that building.. there's a reason you're not new yorkers. This town is for the brave and ambitious. Now go back to enjoying your tv dinners wearing wife beaters on a dirty couch.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • JS

      To fail to learn from the past is not brave.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Peter

    "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 Willis Tower is actually 1,729 feet tall when you include the spire (which is included in 1 WTC's 1,776 feet). If you don't include the spire then Willis Tower is actually taller by 82 feet (1,450 feet vs 1,368 feet).

    April 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andres C

      I agree with Peter and the New Yorkers. If anything, I would have made this tower the biggest in the world. What used to make America the best if not their engineering achievements. They should have made it bigger than the Burj Khalifa. Of course, had a whole floor filled with robotic weapons.. anything that comes close, shoot it down..

      April 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    I refuse to use the term "terrorist". "Terrorists" are labeled by our government as anyone who resists American imperialism... they are rebels trying to fight back at the destruction of their own countries, cultures, and economies.

    If the situation were reversed, can you blame them? Why can't we just have peace and quit fighting over resources and trying to control everyone else. Is power and greed so ingrained in humanity that we just can't stop?

    April 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • J-Pap

      Nailed it. t takes humility to see your "enemy's" reasons for fighting. If you can, maybe then you can avoid fighting and fix the problem.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JS

    What a waste of time and money.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      How so? This is millions of square foot of office space now available. It will make money and is not a waste of time. What do you think it's going to be just an empty building?

      April 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. truth

    what happened to building # 7? Did anybody ever find out how it fell without being hit by a plane? Just wondering.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      It was demolished that day or the next. The structure was compromised when Towers 1 and 2 fell.

      April 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emigdio Alvarez

      it was on that day. the sprinkler system on WTC 7 was destroyed when the towers fell.

      April 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      yeah, dummy-it burned uncontrolled for 10 hours and collapsed-duh...

      April 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
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