The Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) is the major next generation imaging atmospheric Cherenkov γ-ray telescope in the western hemisphere and will be located in southern Arizona nearby Kitt Peak National Observatory. The VERITAS observatory will provide unprecedented sensitivity to photon energies between 50 GeV and 50 TeV. The first stage is an array of four telescopes to be fully operational in early 2006, with an expansion to seven telescopes envisioned for 2008. The construction of a prototype telescope is underway, for which first light is expected in Fall 2003. The technical concept is outlined and a progress report is given.