Rise to the Top: What You Need to Know About One World Trade Center

The monolithic One World Trade Center towers above Manhattan’s skyline and is currently the tallest building in New York City, ousting the Empire State Building’s short-lived spot at the top by 83 feet.

When the final pieces of the so-called Freedom Tower are installed in New York, it will replace Chicago’s Willis Tower and stake its claim as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at a symbolic 1,776 feet.

Thanks to bad weather, the installation of the pieces that would have made the new skyscraper taller than Willis Tower was delayed, giving the former “Sears Tower” another day in sun.

But for some Chicagoans, there are no hard feelings about losing this distinction.

“People want closure, people want to see this happen, so I don’t know that there is any grumbling,” said Dan Safarik, Editor at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international arbiter based in Chicago. Safarik said he lost friends on Sept. 11.

Tallest U.S. Buildings

 Under Construction

Source: CTBUH

The Council won’t call it the tallest until One World Trade is completed, Safarik says, which means it has to have electricity, water, a building skin and certified as occupiable. From there, members of the Council and stakeholders will submit documents to CTBUH and “as-builts” -- final blueprints that show how the building was built as opposed to how it was designed -- to help determine the structure's status.

The Council, whose measurement standards have been around for over 40 years, uses three different methods to determine the height of a structure: from the entrance to the architectural top, to the highest occupied floor or to the highest tip.

The architectural top measurement is the most commonly used, according to Safarik, and if the Council accepts the new spire as the architectural top, it will be the tallest building in the western hemisphere and third tallest in the world.

So far, here is how One World Trade Center stacks up:

Also Known As: 1WTC, Freedom Tower

Price Tag: $3.8 billion

Location: Adjacent to the World Trade Center Memorial, several blocks east of the Hudson River in the heart of the Financial District

Building Office Area: 3 Million Rental Square Feet

Height: 1,368 to the roof, 1,776 feet after the 408-foot-tall spire is completed

Total Floors: 109

Office Floors: 71 (20-90)

Antenna: A 408-foot mast that includes communications and maintenance equipment.

Sustainability: The building will use 30 percent less water than what is permitted by city codes for this type of building. Rain water that falls on the building site will be reclaimed for landscape irrigation

Elevators: One World Trade will boast the five fastest elevators in the Western Hemisphere, which will reach a top speed of 2,000 feet per minute. A trip to the top of the building will take less than four minutes.

Features: Restaurants, observation deck, 55,000 feet of retail space, connections to 13 subway lines and PATH communter trains to New Jersey.

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