Two weeks ago, we told you that One World Trade Center is now New York’s tallest building. Fact. But as they continue to build onto the tower, eventually reaching the patriotic 1,776 feet, critics have called into question whether it will be considered America’s tallest building.


Chicago’s Willis Tower currently holds the title of the nation’s tallest building at 1,451 feet, not including its two antennas, which add nearly another 300 feet. But these additional feet don’t count in the height measurement because they are part of an antenna. And that’s where the debate begins.


Spires count in height measurements, antennas do not, Blair Kamin writes in the Chicago Tribune. One World Trade Center was supposed to have a spire, but now its needle will only be categorized as a broadcast antenna due to maintenance issues. The Associated Press reports:


The 408-foot-tall needle will no longer be enclosed in a fiberglass-and-steel enclosure called a radome, a feature that was recently removed from the original design because the building's developer says it would be impossible to properly maintain or repair it.


Without this feature, it’s unclear which tower will take the title of tallest in the nation. Kamin writes that the fate lies in the hands of the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The Council, Kamin says, has issued a state on the matter, which he sums up as stating: “we’ll have to wait and see.”


Read the Council’s full statement in Blair Kamin’s article on the tallest-tower debate.