Here’s an awkward press conference: today the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat announced that its own hometown’s Willis Tower (which we will continue to call The Sears Tower) will no longer be considered the tallest building in the United States. That honor will go to the new One World Trade Center (aka “Freedom Tower”) with an official height of 1776 feet.
It’s a more complicated development than you might think:
The announcement culminated weeks of speculation about the ruling, which drew widespread attention because it would finally settle the issue of whether Chicago or New York could claim bragging rights to having the nation’s and the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building, as well as whether One World Trade Center would achieve the symbolic height of 1,776 feet.
The issue at hand was whether to consider the WTC tower’s spire as part of the building itself rather than an antenna, which wouldn’t count as part of its overall height.
And yes, there’s PR all over this story.