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Spire hoisted to top of One World Trade Center

A U.S. flag flies in the wind as the final piece of One World Trade Center's spire is lifted to the top of the building in New York, May 2, 2013. Crane operators hoisted the final pieces of the spire on Thursday, helping to fill the void in the New York City skyline that was left by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Ironworkers will finish installing the spire, which weighs about 800 tons (725 metric tons) and is 400 feet (122 meters) tall, at a later date.

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

Height: With the installation of the beacon, the tower will stand at 1,776 feet, representing the year the United States won independence from Great Britain. This will make it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere – but dwarfed by Dubai's Burj Khalifa at 2,717 feet.

Why the beacon?An LED-powered light will be seen from kilometres away, helping to ward off aircraft.

And the spire?It will provide public transmission services for television and radio broadcast channels.

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Spire weight:800 tons

Cost:$3.8-billion

Space:104 storeys; 3 million square feet of office space, an observation deck, shops and restaurants

Anchor tenants:Tony publisher Condé Nast (Vanity Fair, Vogue, New Yorker); General Services Administration (U.S. government agency); Vantone Holdings China Center

Architect:David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill

Editor's note: A May 2nd news article on the World Trade Center incorrectly said the United States won independence from Great Britain in 1776.  In fact, while the U.S. declared its independence that year, it was not won officially until 1783.

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