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Marking A Milestone: 4 World Trade Center Opens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) --  Four World Trade Center has officially opened, marking a major milestone as the first office tower at the 16-acre World Trade Center site to open since the Sept. 11 attacks.

A ribbon-cutting was held Wednesday morning for the 978-foot building.

Marking A Milestone: 4 World Trade Center Opens

"As we open its doors, the site once again becomes a part of New York's continued growth, reconnected with the city that surrounds it," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

"That such elegance, beauty and quiet dignity rises from a place once decimated by unspeakable barbarism is as breathtaking as it is uplifting," New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"It's exciting," nearby resident Jennifer Romanoff added. "Hopefully, it will bring prosperity to the neighborhood."

Marking A Milestone: 4 World Trade Center Opens

Designed by architect Fumihiko Maki, 4 World Trade Center is 2.5 million square feet and features waterfalls, lush trees and blue skies. The serene scene is striking and intentional.

"We want people to come and experience this both as a great office building, but also a sense of accomplishment that we've really turned the corner on rebuilding the World Trade Center and creating a better New York," said Janno Lieber, head of World Trade Center construction.

The building sits on the southeast corner across from the 9/11 Memorial's south reflecting pool. Maki said he aimed for a quiet, dignified presence out of respect for memorial.

"If you look closely, you won't be able to help observe the fact that we're directly across the street from the 9/11 Memorial Museum and everything that entails," developer Larry Silverstein said.

The view from atop 4 World Trade Center
The view from atop 4 World Trade Center, Nov. 13, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

On the 57th floor, there is a giant terrace with a reflection of 1 World Trade Center. On the 68th floor, 4 World Trade Center allows for a breathtaking vista featuring the Statue of Liberty.

"This is the southernmost of the buildings, and as a result, we have an unfettered, unobstructed view to the south that is nothing short of spectacular," Silverstein said.

The official opening means the next task for the building will be leasing out office space.

4 World Trade Center To Officially Open

So far, about 50 percent of the tower has been leased by the Port Authority and the City of New York. Both got on board in 2006, when the project was still in the shoveling stage.

"Of course, you've got to wait now for the other buildings to be finished, but when they get done, everything will be interconnected down here," Silverstein said.

4 World Trade Center To Officially Open

Earthcam captured the entire construction of 4 World Trade Center from 2009 to 2013. You can watch the entire 72-story tower go up in two minutes.

Official 4 World Trade Center Time-Lapse 2009-2013 by EarthCam on YouTube

Three weeks ago, a pedestrian walkway opened connecting the World Trade Center PATH station on West Broadway to the New York Waterway Ferry Terminal.

On Tuesday, an expert committee of architects recognized 1 World Trade Center as the tallest skyscraper in the United States. One World Trade is expected to open sometime in 2014.

Another office tower north of Ground Zero, 7 World Trade Center, opened in 2006.

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