For years the World Trade Center site remained empty as hallowed ground and a reminder of the worst terrorist attack in America. Over time the site transformed into a symbol of bureaucratic infighting that dragged on until the 9/11 Memorial finally opened 10 years after the fact. After 12 years, the new World Trade Center has finally taken shape and is on track for its scheduled opening date in early 2014. The centerpiece of the project, 1 World Trade Center (also known as the Freedom Tower), now stands 1,776 feet tall and is nearly done.

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From left to right you can see the World Trade Center buildings 1, 2, 3, and 4

Construction of the Freedom Tower has been a long, daunting task filled with starts and stops. But today, construction on the exterior of the Freedom Tower is almost complete including the addition of a 408-foot spire, making it the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

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Adjacent to the Freedom Tower on the west end of the memorial park, 4 World Trade Center rises 977 feet from the street level. The two-tiered building will be the fourth-tallest skyscraper in the WTC site and is expected to kick open its doors later this fall in just two months.

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Renderings of World Trade Center towers 2 (left) and 3 (right)

Construction on Larry Silverstein‘s 3 World Trade Center, on the other hand, has just begun. The seven-story building is expected to be completed in 2016. Meanwhile, the proposed four-prong shaped 88-story 2 World Trade Center tower only exists on paper for the time being. Underground, the 9/11 museum is also slated to open to the public in the spring of 2014.

+ Silverstein Properties

via Curbed

Images © WTC Progress and Silverstein Properties