WTC Spire Reaches 1,776 Feet, Building Now Tallest in Western Hemisphere

Friday, May 10, 2013  |  Updated 8:49 PM EDT
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The final section of the One World Trade Center spire was fastened in place today, bringing the building to its final, symbolic height of 1,776 feet.  David Ushery reports.

NBC 4 New York

The final section of the One World Trade Center spire was fastened in place today, bringing the building to its final, symbolic height of 1,776 feet. David Ushery reports.

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The silver spire topping One World Trade Center has been fully installed on the building's roof, bringing the iconic structure to its full, symbolic height of 1,776 feet.

The spire's installation was completed Friday morning, after pieces of it had been transported to the roof of the building last week. Construction workers below applauded the milestone.

The building is rising at the northwest corner of the site where the twin towers were destroyed. The area is well on its way to reconstruction with the 72-story Four World Trade Center and other buildings.

The 408-foot spire, weighing 758 tons, will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna. An LED-powered light emanating from it will be seen from miles away and a beacon will be at the top to ward off aircraft.

Photos and Videos

WATCH: World Trade Center Crowned

Watch as "Today's" Matt Lauer sounds the horn to kick off the World Trade Center spire's final ascent to the top. Then see raw chopper video as it is put into place, bringing the iconic structure to its symbolic 1,776 feet and making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

World Trade Center Spire Raised to Roof

See video from Chopper 4 as the spire is raised to the roof of One World Trade.
More Photos and Videos

The addition of the spire, and its raising of the building's height to 1,776 feet, makes One World Trade Center the tallest structure in the U.S. and third-tallest in the world, although building experts dispute whether the spire is actually an antenna — a crucial distinction in measuring the building's height.

If it didn't have the spire, One World Trade Center would actually be shorter than the Willis Tower in Chicago, which stands at 1,451 feet and currently has the title of tallest building in the U.S., not including its own antennas.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a Chicago-based organization considered an authority on such records, says an antenna is something simply added to the top of a tower that can be removed. By contrast, a spire is something that is part of the building's architectural design.

The tower is slated to open for business in 2014.

Tenants include the magazine publisher Conde Nast, the government's General Services Administration and Vantone Holdings China Center, which will provide business space for international companies.

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