NEW YORK One World Trade Center, being built at the site of the fallen twin towers, could surpass the Empire State Building as the tallest building in New York as soon as next week, an official said on Tuesday.
The iconic Empire State Building, built in 1931, was the city's tallest at a height of 1,545 feet(471 meters) to the tip of its broadcast antenna until 1972 when it was overtaken by the original World Trade Center towers. It then regained the title after the September 11, 2001 attacks, which destroyed the complex.
Construction started six years ago on the new World Trade Center and now the skyscraper, formerly called the Freedom Tower, is poised to surpass the 102-story Empire State Building, Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye told reporters.
"Weather permitting, we expect that we could exceed the height of the Empire State Building on Monday," Foye said.
One World Trade Center will stand at 1,776 feet (541 meters) to the tip of its antenna when it is completed, possibly by late 2013.
The skyscraper, only 55 percent of which is leased, will be higher than the former twin towers, which were toppled in the 2001 attacks in which more than 3,000 people were killed. The north tower stood 1,727 feet (526 metres) including its antenna.
Calling One World Trade Center a "newer, taller cousin," the Empire State Building's spokesman in a statement said: "We've watched you grow and now we salute you."
(Reporting By Joan Gralla; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)