The final beam of 4 WTC was installed at an elevation of 977 feet
Four years ago, 4 World Trade Center was as low as it would go, with excavation nearly 100 feet below street level. Today, the gleaming new skyscraper reached its highest point, as crews lifted the final steam beam into place 977 feet up.
View a slideshow of the event here.
The 72-story tower's developer Silverstein Properties marked the milestone with a ceremony, allowing workers, officials, dignitaries, and other guests to sign the special steel beam before crews hoisted it to the building's roof. It was just a small piece of the 27,000 tons of steel that have gone into the tower -- not counting more than 20,000 tons of rebar, 100,000 yards of concrete, and 10,000 glass panels that will comprise the tower upon completion.
"In a little over a year, 4 World Trade Center will be the newest addition to our neighborhood," said Larry Silverstein, president and CEO of Silverstein Properties. "When we open the doors, it will not just be for our tenants, but for all New Yorkers."
Silverstein was joined by his building partners at Tishman Construction, architectural team Maki and Associates, as well as elected officials and other community leaders. Among them were U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Council Member Margaret Chin, Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin, and FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano.
Located at 150 Greenwich Street, 4 WTC stands at the southeast corner of the sites 16 acres. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki designed the tower with special attention paid toward its position beside the National 9/11 Memorial and south pool. Tower 4 features an enormous 47-foot-tall visitor lobby facing westward, as well as a significant setback on the west side of the 56th floor -- designed to evoke a single step downward toward the memorial. Gleaming Swedish-black-granite panels line the lobby walls from floor to ceiling, allowing its naturally occurring aluminum flecks to glimmer and reflect light.
The design and engineering teams also are implementing extensive safety features that exceed New York City building codes, including a reinforced concrete core and columns with steel girders and beams. Silverstein also has planned to achieve the Gold standard under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the U.S. Green Building Council, using the highest energy efficiency standards throughout the tower and in its construction methods.
Four WTC will tie into the vast, multi-level retail space that will link to 2 and 3 WTC, and the iconic Transportation Hub designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.
The remaining schedule shows the glass facade -- now up to the 66th floor -- wrapping up this December. Interior fit-out and final utility work will follow, with the building slated to open in fall of 2013. At that point, the WTC-site owner Port Authority is expected to relocate its agency into one-quarter of the tower's 2.3 million total square feet.
By the end of the today's topping-out ceremony, hundreds of proud construction workers gathered for a barbeque at the tower's base before heading back to work. Silverstein expressed his gratitude for their efforts.
"Most of all, I want thank the people who built this place with their own hands -- the men and women of the construction trades who are here with us today," he said. "From ironworkers, masons and carpenters to teamsters, laborers and welders, you work every day, rain or shine, to reclaim our skyline and give New Yorkers back the city that the terrorists tried to take away.
"On behalf of my team at Silverstein Properties, I want to thank you for everything you have done and will do. Now let's finish the job!"