Groundbreaking for new South Market District in CBD

New Orleans, La. - One of the largest ground up construction projects in the city of New Orleans in years is taking shape downtown.

It's called the South Market District that stretches on O'keefe between Loyola and Girod Street.

Workers are moving dirt and driving pilings in the heart of the CBD in what will be apartments, retail space, and outdoor dining.

City leaders broke ground on phase one of the South Market District that will include 200 upscale apartments with shopping and eateries. The project is spearheaded by the Domain Companies.

The South Market District promises to be an entertainment district; one more piece of a renovated downtown.

Building from the ground up was one of the only choices . Officials with the Downtown Development District say 23 percent of the underutilized or vacant building in the city are already under construction. This is the first of many projects downtown to come.

A parking facility is in the plans that will hold 400 vehicles.

Other phases of the development are expected to begin sometime next year.