1 World Trade Center takes honors as hemisphere’s tallest tower

1 World Trade Center is the country's tallest skyscraper the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the authoritative body on building heights, announced Tuesday morning.

Up until the decision, questions had remained whether the building's 408-foot antenna should count as part of its height or whether the measure should stop at the building's roofline, which would have relegated it to the status of second tallest in the country behind the Willis Tower in Chicago.

Counting the mast, 1 World Trade Center soars to its full patriotic height of 1,776 feet. Stoking the uncertainty was a decision by the building's developers, a partnership between the Durst Organization and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to do away with an ornamental fiberglass sheathing envisioned by the building's architect, David Childs of SOM, that more seamlessly integrated the antenna with the building's architecture. Critics said the change was made to shave costs on the nearly $4 billion tower, which is the most expensive office building ever built.

The official elevation Tuesday of 1 WTC to the status of tallest tower not just in the nation but in the entire Western hemisphere comes amid a cascade of important milestones for lower Manhattan this week.

On Wednesday, 4 World Trade Center, a neighboring office tower being built by Silverstein Properties, is scheduled to open. It becomes the first office building on the World Trade Center site to be finished and ready for occupancy since the original complex was destroyed by terrorists 12 years ago.

That tower, all 72 stories and 2.5 million square feet of it, cost $1.2 billion and took nearly four years to build. The tower on the southern boundary of the complex features a dramatic lobby with soaring 46-foot tall ceilings and a wall of black granite that provides a mirror-like reflection of the World Trade Center plaza and National September 11 Memorial. The opening of the property will also mark the rebirth of a stretch of Greenwich Street that was eliminated more than 40 years ago to make way for the original 16-acre Trade Center complex.

Meanwhile, in another upbeat development, the big law firm of Jones Day announced that it has taken a 330,000 square foot block of office space at Brookfield Place, the office complex directly across West Street from the Trade Center. That lease was hailed as the latest sign of a resurgent office leasing market downtown driven by tenants' search for modern space at rents well below midtown and even tech-heavy midtown south. Crain's first reported that Jones Day was in talks to take space at the property during the summer.

Source: http://www.crainsnewyork.com//