Trading Up – One Tower Opens, While Another Takes the Title for Verticality

By Matthew Fenton Battery Park Broadsheet

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4WTC

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4WTC

Four World Trade Center, the first building within the boundaries of the original World Trade Center complex to be completed since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, officially opened on Wednesday morning.

Before helping to cut the ceremonial ribbon that marked the building’s debut, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “this is a major turning point for the World Trade Center and for our entire city… that took years of hard work and cooperation to make happen.”

The 978-foot building, which encloses 2.5 million square feet of space spread across 72 stories, took 3.2 million man-hours of labor to build, at a cost of approximately $2 billion. (Of this amount, approximately $1.2 billion came from tax-free Liberty Bonds and the proceeds of insurance claims.)

Developer Larry Silverstein, who leased the original World Trade Center complex from its owner and builder, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, just weeks before September 11, 2001, pointed to a design feature that many Lower Manhattan residents will welcome.

“Many of you are standing on a section of Greenwich Street that has not existed for more than half a century, since construction of the original World Trade Center commenced, back in the late 1960s,” he said. This was a reference to the new Trade Center’s design, which restores several streets that were obliterated by the “super-block” that took over the 16-acre site more than four decades ago.

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver predicted that, “residents will experience a World Trade Center that, for the first time in decades, is seamlessly integrated into the streetscapes of Tribeca, Battery Park, and Wall Street.”

Community Board 1 chair Catherine McVay Hughes, who led that panel’s October meeting within Four World Trade Center, said, “the building and views are spectacular and it is a great addition to our community.” The lobby of the new building boasts ceilings almost five stories above the floor, and a wall of black granite that creates a tone of serene austerity. So far, about half of the tower has been leased by the Port Authority and the City.

In a separate, but related development, One World Trade Center, the tower at the northeast corner of the site, was officially ruled on Tuesday to be the tallest building in America, and the western hemisphere. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which adjudicates such claims, decided that the building’s 400-foot-plus antenna counts toward its putative (and symbolic) height of 1,776 feet.

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