Major developments for Christchurch 2020

What’s coming for Christchurch in 2020?



Some big projects are nearing completion in Christchurch in 2020.

With 2020 marking a decade since the start of the quakes and the rebuild, what will be finished and ready for action in Christchurch this year?

About the only certainty so far in Christchurch’s rebuild timeframe has been that reworked plans, cost overruns and construction hiccups make a nonsense of deadlines.

After a series of hurdles, 2019 saw some significant projects completed including the Town Hall repair, new schools for Ao Tawhiti, Shirley Boys’ and Avonside Girls’, restoration of the School of Arts building at the Arts Centre, and new shopping and hospitality complexes such as Riverside Market.

Other major undertakings such as the city’s new stadium, the red zone restoration, the metro sports centre, and a fully-fixed Cathedral Square are still some years away.

In the meantime Christchurch should see the following completed in 2020, if all goes to plan: 

An artist's impression of the hot salt water pools in New Brighton.
The hot salt water pools in New Brighton.

– New Brighton’s new saltwater hot pool complex, He Puna Taimoana, will bring the hot pool experience to Christchurch for the first time. Scheduled to open in March, the $11.2 million complex is being built on Marine Pde next to the beachfront children’s playground. It will have five outdoor pools ranging in temperature from about 28 degrees Celsius to 40C, a sauna and steam room, cafe, changing facilities, and seating areas.

An artist's impression of Christchurch's new convention centre, Te Pae.
Christchurch’s new convention centre, Te Pae.

– Originally intended to be ready by 2017, the city’s $475m new convention centre Te Pae will host its first convention in mid-October. Funded by the Crown, Te Pae will have room for up to 2000 delegates with a 1400-seat auditorium, a 2800-square-metre exhibition hall that can be extended to 3300sqm of exhibition space, and 24 meeting rooms. Events this year will include conferences for the New Zealand College of Midwives, the International Association of Ecology and the New Zealand Dental Association, plus a Labour Weekend display of classic Mustang cars.

An artist's impression of the rebuilt Redcliffs School.
The rebuilt Redcliffs School.

– After years at the Asch Deaf Education Centre in Sumner because of earthquake damage to cliffs behind their original site, Redcliffs School pupils and staff should be in their new buildings on May 1. A land swap between the Ministry of Education and the city council freed up the old Redcliffs park, where the $16m new school is now nearing completion between Main and Beachville roads and Celia St.

An image of the finished Spark building opening soon in Cathedral Square.
Spark building opening soon in Cathedral Square.

– The five-storey Spark building under development on the old BNZ sitein Cathedral Square will open early this year. Spark New Zealand will take three large floors of office space, while shops and hospitality places will face the Square, Colombo St and Hereford St. A restaurant and bar with an outdoor terrace will occupy the rooftop.

– Christchurch Hospital’s huge new Hagley building is due to open in the first half of the year. The eight-storey building covers over a hectare and will be staffed by 3000 workers. Built at a cost of $500m, the building faced a series of delays that pushed out its original spring 2018 completion date. Facilities will include an emergency department, intensive care unit, operating theatres, wards and the hospital’s first rooftop helipad. 

– The Terrace parking building will fill the gap between The Terrace hospitality strip and the BNZ Centre in the central city. It will be eight storeys high with spaces for 430 cars, cycle parking, and shops at street level. While half the building’s parks will be for tenants in The Terrace, the rest will be available for public use.


– The Muse boutique hotel will welcome its first guests at 159 Manchester St early in the year. The hotel will be in heritage-listed quake-hit office building being renovated by developers into a mid-20th century style building with the help of a council heritage grant. The four-star plus hotel will be run by New Zealand hoteliers the Sarin Group with 40 guest rooms. Also in the building will be hospitality and shops, offices, and a cocktail bar.

– Restoration of the 1920s art deco former Public Trust building will also be finished in 2020, and also with the aid of a council heritage grant. The ornate riverside office building has been strengthened and renovated for new occupants including bars on the top floor and in the basement, with consulting, advertising and recruitment firms taking office space.

How the Woolstore will look at Te Ana Marina at Lyttelton.
How the Woolstore will look at Te Ana Marina at Lyttelton.

– Bringing life to the Lyttelton waterfront is the idea behind converting an old harbourside woolstore building on Godley Quay by the Te Ana marina. Called The Woolstore, the complex will open over winter, with tenants including a cafe-bar, a fish and chip shop, an icecream shop, and a gym.

– Governors Bay will get its 300m-long jetty back when a community project to restore it finishes in the second half of 2020. A local trust has been raising money to restore the 19th century deteriorating jetty after the city council decided the work was too costly. Construction is due to start in March.

– Christchurch’s 1930s seaside clock towers, at New Brighton and Scarborough beaches, have been under earthquake repair behind fences since July. The Scarborough tower will be ticking again in February and the New Brighton tower in March.  

An artist's view of the new Christchurch Northern corridor motorway due for completion in 2020.
The new Christchurch Northern corridor motorway due for completion in 2020.

– Drivers will be taking to new roads in 2020 as some major motorway projects conclude after several years’ construction. The $290m four-lane Northern Corridor will take traffic off SH1 just south of the Waimakariri River and deliver it to Queen Elizabeth II Drive and Cranford St. Due to be open mid-year, it will by-pass Belfast, Prestons and Redwood.  Later stages will see the city council link Queen Elizabeth II Drive to Cranford St, and four-lane Cranford St as far as Innes Rd. 

– The $195m second stage of the Christchurch Southern Motorway will be also finished in mid-2020. It will link stage one of the motorway at Halswell Junction Rd to SH1 at Robinsons Rd between Templeton and Rolleston, bypassing Hornby and Templeton.  

– A new 32-metre footbridge over the Avon River is due to be ready by June, after an art bridge plan for the site was scrapped due to cost. Construction should start in February on the $3.2m bridge, which will cross the river between Cambridge and Oxford terraces just east of Colombo St.

An artist's impression of the revamped Riccarton Rd with trees, a median strip and cycle lanes.
The revamped Riccarton Rd with trees, a median strip and cycle lanes.

– Busy Riccarton Rd will see the end of its $18.4m upgrade in August, four months ahead of schedule. Work is under way widening the road, adding bus lanes, installing median strips between Clarence and Matipo streets near Westfield mall, planting trees, and replacing sewer pipes and water mains. 

An artist's impression of the plan for the Avon Loop.
The plan for the Avon Loop.

– Extensively red-zoned after the quakes, the central city Avon Loop district will have an upgrade to its Oxford Tce riverfront area finished in 2020. Work is under way building a new pathway to replace broken asphalt, adding a new pedestrian and cycle route, and installing a boardwalk, picnic area and boat ramp. Lighting, seating, a parking area and 17,000 new plants will also go in. The project – between Kilmore St and Fitzgerald Ave – is the last stage of the central city Avon River precinct, which began by Hagley Park at the Antigua St bridge.

The southeast corner of Cathedral Square will be transformed into a grassed area in 2020.
The southeast corner of Cathedral Square will be transformed into a grassed area in 2020.

– While a full redesign of Cathedral Square could be years away, the first stages of a $3.6m revamp of the southeast corner has begun. This will re-level and repave the ground in front of the Spark building next to the Distinction Hotel and be finished in late January. New landscaping and new lighting will then go into that corner. 

– Public spaces in Christchurch’s south frame could be finished this year. Comprising an east-west central walking and cycling corridor, side laneways and small squares, the south frame will link the city’s health and innovation precincts. Crown rebuild company Ōtākaro hopes to finish the work at the hospital end during 2020, but this hinges on it securing land tied up in legal battles.

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