Developers in New Orleans have broken ground on the restoration of a 107-year-old historic building for conversion into a mixed-use property.

The $18.6M project involves the remodeling and restoration of a vacant 130,000 sq ft, 8-story building in the city's Central Business District. When completed, the Pythian will house 69 apartments, including workforce and luxury units. The remaining bottom level floors will be converted into 20,000 sq ft of sub-dividable floor space with a fresh food market, a federally-qualified healthcare clinic and non-profit office space. Contractors will also build a rooftop deck for residents.

The project is the result of a partnership between Green Coast Enterprises, ERG Enterprises and the Crescent City Community Land Trust. It is partially being funded through state and federal historic redevelopment tax credits.

Green Coast Enterprises President Will Bradshaw says the building was received with little interior and very few partition walls. No systems were able to be salvaged so the remodel will include new electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. To comply with codes, Bradshaw says contractors will also be strengthening some cast iron columns in the building.

To comply with historic preservation tax credits, developers are required to preserve certain historic features of the building. Bradshaw says they were able to preserve the brick on the front facade. Originally constructed in 1908, the building has historical significance as a hub for African-American businesses and as a gathering place for jazz and theater.

"We're doing what we can to preserve a lot of character and make things look like they've always been there and a part of the building," says Bradshaw.

Work is being performed by Landis Construction and Harmon Engineering. The Pythian is also being designed and constructed with sustainable elements and is striving for a LEED-Silver rating.

Bradshaw says the project will be completed in early-2017.