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New Building Takes US Tallest Building Title

FILE - This combination made from file photos shows Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, in Chicago on March 12, 2008, left, and 1 World Trade Center in New York.
The new World Trade Center tower in New York is officially the nation's tallest building, taking the title Tuesday from Chicago's Willis Tower.

An international panel of architects decided the needle atop the New York skyscraper is a spire, not an antenna, and can be counted when measuring the structure's height.

The Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat said the needle, measuring 124 meters, was high enough to knock Chicago off its pedestal when it comes to hosting the country's tallest building.

With the needle, 1 World Trade Center is 541.3 meters tall. Without it, the building would have been only 417 meters, well short of the 442 meter Willis Tower, formally known as the Sears Tower.

The international Height Committee is the final arbiter of official building heights around the world. They discussed the decision behind closed doors last week in Chicago, home to the world's first skyscraper.