CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The historic Monticello Dairy Building reached an important milestone on Wednesday as it gets redeveloped to bring office space, retail, and more to the area.

Construction crews and contractors celebrated the signing and topping of the last beam on Wednesday, May 15.

It’s a significant moment as the building becomes one step closer to being complete.

“It's exciting to reach this critical milestone in the project,” Kevin Miller, the project director, said.

Developers say this beam signing and topping off ceremony is the culmination of years of effort to make Dairy Central a reality.

“Dairy Market is a 50,000 new square-foot office building on top of the original Monticello Dairy Building where we're creating a food hall and event space,” Chris Henry, the president of Stony Point Design/Build, said.

The project will become the first market mall in central Virginia, with 22 small local vendor and food purveyors.

“It’s really kind of echoing off of some of the success that markets have had in larger cities,” Miller said. “We think it provides a lot of opportunities to showcase some really high-quality regional purveyors of food, crafts, entertainment - things like that - in really the central part of Charlottesville.”

Phase two of the project, which is scheduled to break ground in September, will be a 200-unit residential building that will include some affordable housing options.

“We know that it's a really critical element for the city and being able to build affordable housing onsite is something that a lot of other developers haven't done,” Miller said.

“We think this project is special because it's going to create a community gathering place on Preston Avenue where there has been a lack of vibrant, walkable retail housing and office space and really set the tone for what Preston Avenue could be for the future of Charlottesville,” Henry said.

This entire project will open in a series of phases over the next two years.

The office and food market will open in the spring of 2020, and the residential units will open sometime in 2021.

The project is estimated to cost about $80 million.