With its glittering spire now firmly attached, the new World Trade Center became the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere Friday morning. The building at One World Trade Center now stands at 1,776 feet.
"It will give a tremendous indication to people around the entire region, and the world, that we're back and better than ever," Steven Plate, the head of construction at the World Trade Center, said when the spire was first raised into place last week.
Weighing 758 tons, the spire includes a bright light at the top of its 408 feet, sure to become a new landmark for lower Manhattan. Parts of the spire were assembled on the World Trade Center's roof and raised atop the structure last week; the final sections were bolted into place early Friday.
The building rose near the site of the old World Trade Center, whose twin towers were destroyed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; other construction at the site is under way. The new building is the result of a collaboration between the Durst Organization and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
"The tower is slated to open for business in 2014," reports NBC New York. "Tenants include the magazine publisher Conde Nast, the government's General Services Administration and Vantone Holdings China Center, which will provide business space for international companies."
At 1,776 feet, the building is the tallest in America — provided those who make those designations see Friday's addition as a spire, and not as an antenna. The structure will broadcast TV and radio signals.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has several criteria for measuring the height of buildings, with the first among them being "height to architectural top" — something that doesn't include "antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment."
The council is based in Chicago, home of the Willis Tower (the former Sears Tower), at 1,451 feet, and the Trump International Center, at 1,389 feet.
As Chicago Real Estate Daily reports, a group of architects, engineers, and builders will convene in November to decide the official status of the World Trade Center's spire — and its standing among tall buildings.
You can explore the world's tallest buildings at the Skyscraper Center's website.