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80-story 3 World Trade Center to open after years of delays

An 80-story office building set to open this week at the World Trade Center will be the third completed skyscraper at the site where the twin towers stood.

In this June 8, 2018 photo, 3 World Trade Center, second from right, joins its neighbors One World Trade Center, left, and 4 World Trade Center, right, next to the September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York. The center's latest skyscraper opens Monday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Monday's ribbon-cutting for the 1,079-foot (329-meter) 3 World Trade Center marks a major step in the rebuilding of the site, stalled for years by disputes among government agencies, trade center developer Larry Silverstein, insurers and 9/11 victims' family members who wanted the entire site to be preserved for eternity as a memorial.

In this June 7, 2018 photo, a woman looks north over Manhattan buildings from an upper floor of 3 World Trade Center in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The new $2.7 billion building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Rogers, has been the fifth-tallest building in New York City since construction topped out in 2016.

That designation seemed elusive in 2009 when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site and was battling with Silverstein over costs associated with rebuilding, sought to reduce 3 World Trade to a four-story "stump."

In this June 7, 2018 photo, the September 11 Memorial and Museum are seen from an upper floor of 3 World Trade Center in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

After arbitration in the dispute between the developer and the property owner, construction started in 2010 but was halted at seven stories due to a lack of financing.

The financial situation improved in 2012, Silverstein said. "It was like somebody came to us and said, 'The curtain has gone up, you can now access this pool of financing.'"

FILE - In this June 22, 2016, file photo, workers guide a boom pouring concrete on the top floor of 3 World Trade Center in New York. Behind them is One World Trade Center. The new skyscraper opens Monday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The Port Authority's current executive director, Rick Cotton, joined the agency in 2017 and missed out on the fights with Silverstein. Cotton said the opening of 3 World Trade is "really a major transformative step in the ongoing evolution of the World Trade Center from a construction site to an active, living, breathing campus of office buildings and a memorial."

In this June 7, 2018 photo, One World Trade Center towers over its neighbors, including 3 World Trade Center, center, an 80-story office building in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Three World Trade's 62-foot (19-meter) lobby faces the National Sept. 11 Museum. Wedged between the Santiago Calatrava-designed transportation hub and 4 World Trade Center, also built by Silverstein, the new building consists of an 80-story tower straddling a 17-story "podium."

FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2012, file photo, a crane works on the seventh floor of 3 World Trade Center. On the right is 1 World Trade Center, and 4 World Trade Center is on the left. The new skyscraper, 3 World Trade Center, opens Monday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Zigzagging beams down the east and west faces of the tower look like an embellishment but are actually structural components that will allow for column-free spaces inside. "It's a load-bearing system," said Carlos Valverde, a Silverstein Properties vice president who has supervised construction of the building.

The skyscraper boasts an annealed glass exterior with 10,000 glass panels that have been cooled slowly to reduce internal stress, meaning the glass shouldn't break into shards if it is struck.

In this June 7, 2018 photo, a tour boat on the Hudson River passes 3 World Trade Center, second from left, and the lower Manhattan skyline. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Inside, office space is being readied for anchor tenant 3M, an advertising firm, with exposed ceilings that suggest a Soho loft.

There are outdoor terraces on the 17th, 60th and 76th floors including an outdoor deck that will be shared by all the building's tenants.

A mural of a dancer in a red dress adorns a wall on the otherwise bare 68th floor, which will eventually be covered with street artists' work.

In this June 7, 2018 photo, artists work on a reproduction of a Sol LeWitt wall drawing in the lobby of 3 World Trade Center in New York. The tower opens Monday, June 11. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The new building is the second Silverstein skyscraper to feature graffiti artists' work. Street artists were invited to wield their spray cans on the 69th floor of the new building's neighbor, 4 World Trade, last year. The artwork inspired the streaming service Spotify to sign a lease for the top floors of the building including the "graffiti in the sky" floor.

Silverstein said 40 percent of 3 World Trade's office space is leased. GroupM will start moving in July 16, Valverde said. Management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has leased space and will move in next year.

In this June 7, 2018 photo, the lobby elevator banks are bathed in green light in 3 World Trade Center in New York. The colored lighting can be used, or not, as desired by building management. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Myers Mermel, the chief executive of TenantWise, a real estate advisory firm, said the McKinsey deal will spur other prestigious financial services firms to consider moving to the area. "McKinsey marks a turning point in front office acceptance of the new World Trade Center," he said.

Silverstein, now 87, thought he had gotten "the brass ring" when he signed a 99-year lease on the trade center in July 2001. Two planes piloted by terrorists destroyed the trade center complex six weeks later.

In this June 7, 2018 photo, One World Trade Center is seen from the lobby of 3 World Trade Center in New York. The center's latest skyscraper opens Monday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Silverstein recalled a conversation with his wife, Klara, about whether he should try to rebuild or not. "We can either walk away from this place as many people are advising me to do and as the insurers want me to do or we can stay and rebuild," Silverstein recalled saying. "But I said, 'It's going to be a tough 10 years,' because I thought we could do it all in 10 years."

In this June 8, 2018 photo, 3 World Trade Center towers above visitors at the September 11 Memorial in New York. The center's latest skyscraper opens Monday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Seventeen years later, Silverstein has completed 4 World Trade and 3 World Trade. One World Trade, the tallest building on the site, was developed by the Port Authority.

The still unfinished 2 World Trade Center, immediately north of the transportation hub, is awaiting an anchor tenant and financing before it can be built beyond a stump. "We've just got to find the occupant of that last tower. Get that done," Silverstein said.

Also starting construction after years of delays is the nearby Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center, named for the billionaire investor after he made a $75 million donation. Its scheduled completion date is 2020.