World Trade Center Rebirth

Let There Be Light (Courtesy Marvin Scott / September 11, 2011)

More than a decade after a terrorist attack brought down New York's twin towers, their replacement -- an emerging new addition to the Manhattan skyline -- has nearly reached a landmark height.

The One World Trade Center is now 100 stories high, stretching just over 1,244 feet and just 6 feet shy of the Empire State Building (without its antenna), according to Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The colossal steel structure is in the coming weeks expected to surpass the frame of the Empire State Building, which is currently Gotham's tallest skyscraper.

The building reached its 100th floor last week and is expected to be completed by next year or sometime in early 2014, Coleman said Tuesday.

Built on what was once referred to as ground zero in Lower Manhattan, the building will reach 1776 feet by way of a mast fixed atop its peak, making it the nation's tallest structure.

The Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower, which stands at 1,450 feet and 110 stories high, is the country's current record holder.

Housing three top floor observation decks, the first 90 floors of the One World Trade Center building will be designated for office space. The following 10 floors are to be reserved for air conditioning, heating, and electrical equipment.

Despite years of political infighting and real estate squabbling that delayed its construction, more than half of the building has now been rented, with a tenant list that includes Conde Nast publishing company and a Chinese real estate investment firm called Vantone Holdings.

In its shadow, twin reflecting pools are situated in the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood.

The names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 attacks, as well as six people who died in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, are emblazoned across bronze panels ringing the pools.

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