U.S. returns to 1 World Trade Center 15 years after attacks

U.S. returns to 1 World Trade Center 15 years after attacks

U.S. returns to 1 World Trade Center 15 years after attacks

Written by Staff Writer

11 Sep, 2016 | 1:41 pm

The U.S. federal government on Friday (September 9) marked its return to the rebuilt 1 World Trade Center, moving its New York City offices back to Lower Manhattan 15 years after the Sept. 11 attacks that had reduced the site to rubble.

“Today is meant to be an uplifting day, a sign of our determination to move forward. Literally out of the ashes we have rebuilt stronger and taller,” said U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson at an event on the 63rd floor.

Also known as the Freedom Tower, the 104-story 1 World Trade Center is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, at 1,776 feet (541 meters).

Construction began in 2006 and the building opened in 2014 when media company Conde Nast, the anchor tenant, moved in. About 67 percent of its 3 million square feet is now leased.

The federal government was one of the first tenants in the original World Trade Center in the 1970s, said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye. The General Services Administration had leased space at 6 World Trade Center before it was destroyed in the attacks.

The government became the third tenant in the new building when the General Services Administration signed the lease on its behalf in 2012.

On Sept. 11, 2001, four U.S. commercial airplanes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center’s twin towers, as well as the Pentagonbuilding near Washington D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people.

More than 1,000 employees of the GSA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol had moved into the space by March, a spokeswoman said. The lease for the approximately 220,000 square feet is $15 million per year.

Still, not everyone was happy about the return of government agencies to the building. In 2015, six GSA employees sued to try to block the move, saying they feared the rebuilt tower would again be a target for possible attacks. A federal judge in Manhattan threw out the case in June.

Johnson also recognized the outgoing New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton during the ceremony.

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