The first stage of The Terraces has been officially open by Prime Minister John Key, who declared Christchurch was a city that was coming alive.
Located between Cashel and Hereford Streets, The Terraces feature concrete staircases leading down to the Avon River's edge, and will eventually extend along the river from Christchurch Hospital to Manchester Street.
Mr Key officially opened the development today. The promenade was originally expected to be complete for the ICC Cricket World Cup in February last year.
The multi-million dollar project was the second to be completed under Ōtākaro, the new Crown-company established to deliver the city's key anchor projects in conjunction with Christchurch City Council.
When completed, 50,000 square-metres of paved shared space will form a city promenade running along the Oxford Terrace side of the river from the hospital to the Margaret Mahy Family Playground.
The main set of terraces is located directly in front of Antony Gough's private development, The Terrace, known as The Strip prior to the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.
The Avon River Precinct redevelopment highlights Ngāi Tahu and early European historical sites along its path.
A key feature of the steps is the installation of literary panels, displaying words by authors Apirana Taylor, John Deans, Wiremu Te Uki and David Eggleton.
Each of the panels will be located at sites relevant to their texts, so poems which refer to particular locations will appear in their vicinity and Ngāi Tahu texts will appear at culturally significant sites.
The promenade also incorporates 13 Ngā Whāriki Manaaki (stone weaving patterns), one of which Mr Key was shown today.
The $109m development is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.