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Officials Preview Planned Observation Deck At One World Trade Center

The view from the planned observation deck at One World Trade Center on April 2, 2013 (credit: Alex Silverman WCBS 880)

The view from the planned observation deck at One World Trade Center on April 2, 2013 (credit: Alex Silverman WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The observation deck at One World Trade Center will not open until 2015 but the tower’s developers are offering a glimpse of what they call the guest experience.

The observation deck will occupy the tower’s 100th through 102nd floors. Elevators will whisk visitors to the top in just one minute but the experience of visiting the attraction will take an hour.

PHOTOS: Preview Of One World Trade Center Observatory

“Our lookout on the world is back,” Port Authority Chairman David Samson said.

Visitors to the observation deck at One World Trade Center will learn about the building’s history while they’re waiting in line downstairs and watch a video on the tower’s 102nd floor before the actual panoramic view is revealed, officials developing the attraction said.

Visitors will buy their tickets in the building’s lobby, then take an escalator to the basement to hear a presentation on the construction of the building, featuring voices of some of the workers, as they wait in line for the elevators. The Port Authority said the “pre-show” would provide “an immersive background on the creation of the building.”

Once on the 102nd floor, visitors will watch a video about New York called “See Forever” before a curtain or scrim is raised, revealing the actual panoramic view. “Tour ambassadors” will be available to answer questions about the skyline, the Port Authority said.

There will be restaurants and snack bars on the 101st floor, a gift shop on the 100th floor and more videos on elevator ride down.

The cost to take the hour-plus tour has not been determined but officials said it would be comparable to similar attractions, with group discounts available. The 86th-floor observation deck at the Empire State Building costs $25.

Packaged like a theme-park ride, the tour will showcase One World Trade as “the most significant destination in the world,” said David Checketts, chairman and CEO of Legends Hospitality LLC, which has signed a 15-year lease to operate the observation deck.

Legends — a partnership of the Checketts Partners Investment Fund, the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys –operates concessions at sports stadiums and other venues around the country. Team officials including Hal Steinbrenner, managing general partner of the Yankees, and Jerry Jones Jr., executive vice president of the Cowboys, attended a news conference on the unfinished building’s 100th floor Tuesday.

“We expect this to be the Yankee Stadium of observation decks,” said Scott Rechler, vice chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the building.

The deck is expected to generate $875 million in revenue for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and will attract some 3.8 million visitors a year.

The building is already the tallest in New York City and once completed, will become the tallest building in the Western hemisphere and the third tallest in the world.

One World Trade Center is slated to open in 2014.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)