The New World Trade Center Is Now Open

And it's the tallest building in the U.S.

The newly opened 1 World Trade Center, which is 1,776 feet and offers a total of 104 stories, had its first residents move in yesterday. It’s the tallest building in the United States — and in the Western Hemisphere. But it didn’t come by that designation easily. In fact, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat spent a period deliberating over whether the “Freedom Tower” even deserved its title as tallest last year. From the International Business Times:

The spire-antenna distinction, CTBUH said, makes a difference in the measurement of “height to architectural top,” which includes spires but not antennae, signage, flagpoles or other functional technical equipment. Were One World Trade Center’s mast deemed “functional-technical,” its architectural top would have been the roof slab at just 1,334 feet, 8 inches, making the building 441 feet, 4 inches lower than claimed.

Had 1 WTC’s spire been deemed an antenna, Chi-town’s Willis Tower would have kept its crown as tallest building in the country. (And Philly’s in-progress Comcast Innovation and Technology Center would have been bumped from its pending eight spot as tallest building in America to seventh upon completion.)

Last November the Council met with 1 WTC’s developers and chief architect, who were adamant about the spire really being a spire, and not just “a means of improving radio signals.” From the New York Times:

The New York contingent said the spire had always been part of the plan to achieve the symbolic height of 1,776 feet.

The committee members unanimously agreed that the spire should be counted, said Timothy Johnson, the council’s chairman and a partner in NBBJ, a design firm.

“The building is in fact 1,776 feet,” Mr. Johnson said. “We don’t believe the spire will ever be removed.”

Video in the link below, in which you can see the state of Pennsylvania from the top of the building.

1 World Trade Center Opening Highlights Rebirth, Renewal Following 9/11 Attacks [ABC News]