1 World Trade Center Is Nation's Tallest Building, Panel Says

The sun reflects off New York's One World Trade Center as people stand in a park in Hoboken, New Jersey, in this file photo taken September 29, 2013. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has announced that One World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the United States when it opens next year. (REUTERS/Gary Hershorn/Files)

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By Richard Pratt

CHICAGO (AP) — An expert committee of architects declares that New York's new World Trade Center tower is now the tallest building in the U.S., surpassing Chicago's Willis Tower.

The Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat announced its decision Tuesday in Chicago.

The committee is widely recognized as the final arbiter of official building heights around the world. It has been studying whether a design change means the needle atop 1 World Trade Center is part of the actual building or merely the equivalent of a broadcast antenna.

The tower built on the site of the 9/11 attacks stands at a symbolically important 1,776 feet tall including the 408-foot needle. It officially would have been considered 1,368 feet tall without the needle.

Willis Tower is 1,451 feet tall.

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