Contractors are preparing to break ground on the second phase of the South Market District in New Orleans. When completed, it will be the largest mixed-use development in the city with 700 apartments, a boutique hotel and 200,000 sq ft of retail space including shops and restaurants.

Construction of the $250 million project started in June 2013. The first phase, which includes The Paramount and The Park buildings, is nearing completion. The Paramount includes 21,000 sq ft of retail space and 209 apartments, The Park features 435 garage spaces and 27,000 sq ft of retail space.

The second phase will cover the $39.6 million worth of construction to erect The Beacon, a building with 126 apartments and 20,000 sq ft of retail space. While the project is being constructed in a very busy and congested part of town, contractors are making excellent progress.

"It has generally been a smooth construction process. The first two buildings will deliver in December 2014 and the third we expected to be completed by December 2015," says Domain Co. spokesperson Meghan McNeil.

A third phase is currently being planned that will feature a 24,000-sq-ft building with 435 parking spaces. New Orleans Industrial Development Board recently approved a property tax break for project. It require that developers ensure 40% of construction workers are from New Orleans and that 35% of contracts be awarded to disadvantaged businesses.

Located on the new Loyola street car line and within walking distance of the Central Business District and BioDistrict, South Market is being developed as a "transit-oriented" district. It is currently one of the biggest construction projects in downtown New Orleans.

"It's the area's first mixed-use, transit-oriented development and was designed with every possible convenience to both South Market residents and workers from surrounding properties. It's unlike anything else downtown," says McNeil.