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Chicago challenges WTC’s spire-based claim to tallest US building

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – There’s a debate that’s brewing in Chicago, but some people in Lower Manhattan said there should be no debate at all, anywhere.

At 1,776 feet, One World Trade Center represents hope and freedom.  Its listed height made it, many thought, the tallest building in the U.S.

In Chicago, however, a committee of architects will apparently decide whether the 408-foot spire on top of One World Trade disqualifies it from being the tallest building in the United States.

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One World Trade Center tested the beacon — designed to be seen from 50 miles away — that makes up the spire atop the Freedom Tower on Friday.

If the spire does disqualify One World Trade Center, the Willis building, formerly called the Sears Tower in Chicago may be number one at 1,451 feet tall.

In a statement, One World Trade Center’s architect told PIX11 News, “The height is important in that it symbolizes that moment of our democracy – 1776 – can’t be much more important than that.”

While a new, taller building will eventually rise above both the Sears Tower and One World Trade, he said, it’s important that the symbolic number 1776 is listed as the height. “The governor, the Port Authority and America all felt strongly about that, and that’s why we’ve achieved that, and it’s important for it to be recognized as the height.”