, NEW YORK, Nov 4 – One World Trade Centre, America’s tallest building, on Monday welcomed its first tenants, publishing group Conde Nast, in a symbolic moment 13 years after the 9/11 attacks that brought down the original Twin Towers.
About 175 executives of the group that publishes magazines like The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, filed through the doors of the building on Vesey Street, just steps from the memorial and museums erected at the site where the Twin Towers once stood.
The iconic Manhattan landmark collapsed in fire and smoke on September 11, 2001 after being hit by hijacked airliners flown by Al-Qaeda militants. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks, which also targeted the Pentagon.
The new tower is the centrepiece of a five tower complex. It stands 104 stories and 1,776 feet (540 meters) tall, a height representing the year the United States declared its independence from Britain.
“Some people are nervous, some people are just excited to move downtown and start a transformation for the company, to help revitalise lower Manhattan,” said John Duffy, director of policies and controls at Conde Nast.
Duffy, who worked in the old World Trade Centre in the 1980s, acknowledged that “some people are gonna be nervous, feeling they could be potential targets again.”
But he said authorities have worked hard to make a new building that is “probably indestructible.”
Conde Nast is expected to have a total of 3,400 employees in January spread across floors 20 to 44 of the building.
One World Trade Centre, designed by architect David Childs, has become a Big Apple landmark of its own, with simple lines, a needle-like spire and mirrored windows that shimmer brightly in the sunlight.
Operated by the Durst Organization, the building is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a governmental agency.
Its other tenants include the China Centre New York, Legends Hospital Group and the General Services Administration, which supports the basic functions of federal agencies.
Durst Organization spokesman Jordan Barowitz told AFP that 60 percent of the office space is already rented.