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One World Trade Center Tops Willis Tower, Officially

NEW YORK (UPI) — One World Trade Center in New York has bragging rights as the tallest building in the country, an international council based in Chicago has decided.

The group is called the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and it is their job to referee disputes about who has built the tallest building in a region or the world, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

The decision announced simultaneously in New York and Chicago had a lot riding on it, as the New York building at ground zero in Manhattan displaced the Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower, which has had U.S. bragging rights for 40 years.

Twenty-five members of the council’s decision-making committee reviewed presentations that centered on whether or not a spire on top of One World Trade Center that takes the building to 1,776 feet tall can be be counted as a fixture, and, therefore, as part of the building, or just an antennae that is not part of the building’s architecture, the Tribune reported.

Last year, it became known that One World Trade Center builders were saving $20 million by not putting a shell around the 408-foot mast at the top of the building. The building’s architect David Childs lamented later that, “Eliminating this integral part of the building’s design and leaving an exposed antenna and equipment is unfortunate.”

An antenna would be an add-on and not part of the building’s structure.

But the council overlooked the statement, despite a report issued by the council in September that said builders were reaching for records by adding “vanity height” to buildings.

Dubai’s Burj Al Arab tower, for example, is billed as the fourth tallest hotel in the world, but the top 39 percent of the building is unoccupied.

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, is currently the tallest building overall with a height of 2,717 feet. The Willis Tower is 1,451 feet tall.

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