|John Makely / msnbc.com|
One World Trade Center, the monolith being built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, claimed the title of New York City's tallest skyscraper on Monday, as workers erected steel columns that made its unfinished skeleton a little over 1,250 feet high, just enough to peek over the roof of the observation deck on the Empire State Building.
"This project is much more than steel and concrete. It is a symbol of success for the nation," said David Samson, chairman of the Port Authority, the agency that owns the World Trade Center.
The milestone is only a preliminary one. Workers are still adding floors to the building once called the Freedom Tower. It isn't expected to reach its full height for at least another year, at which point it is likely to be declared the tallest building in the U.S., and third tallest in the world.
Excluding its antenna, the Empire State Building's total height to 1,250 feet. That was still high enough to make the skyscraper the world's tallest from 1931 until 1972.
One World Trade Center would still be smaller than the Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower, which tops out at 1,451 feet (not including its antennas).
As for the world's tallest building, the undisputed champion is the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, which opened in 2010 and reaches 2,717 feet, Not counting about 5 feet of aircraft lights and other equipment perched on top, of course.
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