First CBD commercial redevelopment underway

5:52 pm on 27 January 2012

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says New Zealanders can take heart that the commercial redevelopment of Christchurch is now well underway.

On Friday afternoon, Mr Brownlee oversaw the start of construction on the first multi-level building in Christchurch's CBD since the 22 February earthquake.

The four-storey building, which is expected to be completed by Christmas 2012, is being built on site of the Harcourts Grenadier Real Estate building at 271 Madras Street.

The original building was demolished after the February quake.

Mr Brownlee says the commencement of construction sends a message to other property owners in the central city that investing in the future of Christchurch can happen now, and does not have to wait on the completion of the demolition programme.

Harcourts Grenadier owner Robert McCormack says he thinks his action will "catapult" people into making decisions to build.

"It's very hard to be a first, but it's easy to be a quick second and there's going to be a lot of quick seconds."

The glass-fronted building will have a steel frame and has been designed to exceed the tougher structural requirements brought in after the February quake.