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Ground Zero: Then and now

Published: Monday, September 12, 2011

Updated: Monday, September 12, 2011 14:09

Before its destruction on Sept. 11, 2001, the World Trade Center was an international commerce hub and tourist attraction. After a decade of cleanup, building and planning, a new WTC is being built.

According to the WTC's website, the new complex will include five new skyscrapers, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the WTC Transportation Hub, several thousand feet of retail space and a performing arts center.

In their time, the Twin Towers and other low-rise buildings in the WTC complex provided office space for hundreds of corporate and government tenants. The new complex includes six office towers that will reintroduce that space to the lower Manhattan area.

The tallest of the towers will be One World Trade Center, which will reach 1,776 feet. Upon its completion, it will be the tallest building in the United States and will include "office space, an observation deck, world-class restaurants and broadcast and antennae facilities" according to the WTC website.

The other skyscrapers at the new trade center will range in height and, like One World Trade Center, possess a different design and appearance from the original WTC buildings, whose addresses they will bear.

No buildings will rise from the original site of the Twin Towers. Instead, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum will occupy that area. In the footprints of the two towers lie two square reflecting pools with large manmade waterfalls pouring into the pools from each side.

The names of nearly 3,000 individuals who died in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., are inscribed in plaques around the edges of the reflecting pools.

The names of those killed in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center are included there as well, because an existing monument to those individuals was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.

Although a ceremony at the site of the World Trade Center took place on Sunday, much of the new WTC, including the September 11 Museum, is incomplete. Most of the new buildings are expected to be completed over the next three to five years, according to the WTC website.

To learn more about the World Trade Center, past and present, visit

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