With the delivery of 100,000 tons of steel beams, the Hudson Yards project began vertical construction Wednesday on the Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards, the project's 1 million-square-foot retail space.

The retail complex is scheduled to open in 2018 alongside the rest of the Eastern Yard -- the first half of the 28-acre Midtown development. When completed, the four-block-wide section of the Hudson Yards project will have 11 million square feet of residential and commercial space, including the future home of Time Warner and 5,000 residential units.

According to Related Companies, one of the site's developers, the retail space will house more than 100 shops and eateries. These shops, which include a Neiman Marcus flagship store and chef Thomas Keller's new restaurant, are anticipated to attract more than 24 million people and generate an estimated $1 billion per year.

Related Companies executive vice president Ron Wackrow said in a statement that this year will also see the completion of the Yards' Eastern Rail Platform -- which will be the foundation of the project's six skyscrapers -- and to begin vertical construction on 30 Hudson Yard, the development's 92-story office building.

Kenneth A. Himmel, president of Related Companies' mixed-use division of Related Urban, said in a statement that the new construction marks a major milestone in the development of Midtown.

"We are extremely excited," Himmel said. "Having the opportunity to transform a neighborhood and create a new paradigm for shopping and dining in New York City is a dream come true."