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Publisher Conde Nast Begins Move Into One World Trade Center

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Thirteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attack, the resurrected World Trade Center has opened for business.

Some of publishing giant Conde Nast's staffers began working at One World Trade Center on Monday. The 104-story, $3.9 billion skyscraper is America's tallest building.

"One World Trade Center serves as a symbol of the resilience of the people of New York," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "Today, as we open its doors for the first time, we remember that strength and courage will always conquer weakness and cowardice, and that the American spirit, defended by proud New Yorkers, will not be defeated."

It's the centerpiece of the 16-acre site where the decimated twin towers once stood and where more than 2,700 people died on Sept. 11, 2001, buried under smoking mounds of fiery debris.

"The New York City skyline is whole again, as One World Trade Center takes its place in Lower Manhattan,'' said Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that owns both the building and the World Trade Center site.

Publisher Conde Nast Begins Move Into One World Trade Center

He said One World Trade Center "sets new standards of design, construction, prestige and sustainability; the opening of this iconic building is a major milestone in the transformation of Lower Manhattan into a thriving 24/7 neighborhood.''

With construction fences gone and boxes of office equipment in place, the company moved into what Foye called "the most secure office building in America.''

"This is the safest Class A office space any place, not in the nation, any place in the world," Foye told reporters, including WCBS 880's Rich Lamb. "We're confident in the security of this, which has been done with federal, state and local partners. FBI, Homeland Security, state police in both states, NYPD, and last but not least, the Port Authority Police Department."

Prior to the move, Conde Nast addressed any issues employees might have had about moving into the tower. The architectural firm, T.J. Gottesdiener of the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, says it took extra measures to strengthen the steel-and-concrete structure. It says it is a much stronger structure than the twin towers.

Starting Monday, more than 170 employees moved into five of Conde Nast's 25 floors, the company said. By early 2015, about 3,000 more staffers will move in.

The lease says Conde Nast will occupy 1.1 million square feet in the building for the next 25 years.

"I feel like we're a part of history, moving in here," one Conde Naste employee told 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck. "There's a lot of sad things that happened here and this is a good start getting things going in the right direction."

The building is 60 percent leased, with another 80,000 square feet going to the advertising firm Kids Creative, the stadium operator Legends Hospitality, the BMB Group investment adviser, and Servcorp, a provider of executive offices.

The government's General Services Administration signed up for 275,000 square feet and the China Center, a trade and cultural facility, will cover 191,000 square feet.

One World Trade Center Reopens For Business

From the northeast corner of the site, the tower overlooks the National September 11 Memorial & Museum built in the footprints of the twin towers. Its stated aim is to honor those who perished on that sunny September morning.

"Hopefully, it's closure for some people. A lot of emotions going on," Joe Martin with Local 580 told CBS2's Janelle Burrell. "America picks itself up, dusts itself off and moves forward."

An observation deck eventually will be open to the public. The observatory spans about 120,000 square feet and is about 1,250 feet from the ground.

RELATED: Video Offers Virtual Tour Of 1 World Trade Center's Observatory

The eight-year construction of the 1,776-foot high skyscraper came after years of political, financial and legal infighting that threatened to derail the project.

The bickering slowly died down as two other towers started going up on the southeast end of the site: the now completed 4 World Trade Center whose anchor tenant is the Port Authority, and 3 World Trade Center that's slowly rising.

The area has prospered in recent years. About 60,000 more residents now live there, three times more than before 9/11, keeping streets, restaurants and shops alive even after Wall Street and other offices close for the day.

"This extraordinary tower is much more than a gleaming example of contemporary architecture," Jessica Lappin with Alliance for Downtown New York told CBS2's Janelle Burrell, "It is a symbol of a promise made and a promise kept."

Still, it's a bittersweet victory, one achieved with the past in mind as the architects created One World Trade Center.

T.J. Gottesdiener of the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill told The Associated Press that the high-rise was built with steel-reinforced concrete that makes it as terror attack-proof as possible.

He said the firm went beyond the city's existing building codes to achieve that.

"We did it, we finally did it,'' he said.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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