LOWER MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- Sixteen years after the 9/11 terror attacks, One World Trade Center shimmers on the city's skyline. The tallest building in the western hemisphere is now surrounded by office towers and a majestic transportation center that will be the Grand Central Terminal of the 21st century.
But developer Larry Silverstein says it should have happened sooner.
"It took much more time than I ever dreamed it would take," he said. "Because it took us 16 years to get to this point."
Three World Trade Center is the newest office tower. It's already topped out, and the interior is beginning to take shape. But the only route to the upper floors is a makeshift freight elevator that runs along the side of the building, 1,000 feet above the street.
The building is 80 stories tall, and the view of One World Trade from the terrace is spectacular. But 80 percent of the building has yet to be leased.
Two World Trade is designed to be 81 stories tall, but work has stopped after News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch backed out in what Silverstein admits was a major setback.
"We've always been able to weather the storm," he said. "We've always been able to come through it. New York is an incredible city."
Silverstein insists that rebuilding the World Trade Center site was essential to the city, not just economically, but as a testament to its resiliency.
"It was an incredibly difficult time," he said. "There were millions of people out there living here, living downtown and working downtown who desperately wanted a Trade Center to be rebuilt. I said, at the end of the day, we have to do what's good for New York."
Despite setbacks, developer vows to complete WTC site
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