The first piece of new building construction inside the red zone since the February 22 earthquake has begun at Ballantynes.
Leighs Construction made the first concrete pour on the new first floor foundation for the Stables Building last week.
"This is an important step forward for the business towards re-opening," said Mary Devine, managing director of Ballantynes.
A temporary structure, it would operate for potentially up to three years while Ballantynes finalised its long term plans for the site, she said.
"It is significant for us and has only been achieved through excellent collaboration between the City Council, Cera, the Buchan Group and Leighs Construction."
The Stables building, which was originally built in 1904 as the stables for the business, was demolished along with the Anderson's building following the earthquake. Together the two buildings had a floor plate of about 1200 sq metres.
Anthony Leighs, managing director of Leighs Construction, said the buildings were being replaced with a single storey over the complete site. The Anderson's area would comprise a new ground floor suspended slab over the existing basement, with another level on top.
A large group of sub-contractors would be working on the site in order that it be delivered on time for fit out, said Anthony Leighs.
"We are thrilled to be playing our part in the initial regeneration of central Christchurch. And we greatly admire Ballantynes' determination to get back up and running in central Christchurch - it sends a fantastically positive signal for the city."
The Stables formerly housed the store's pantry and wine cellar. On re-opening, an entrance from Lichfield St will lead into the store through the pantry area and JB's café.
Another Lichfield St entrance will lead into the reconstructed Andersons building, which originally housed the china, textile, stationery and gift areas. In the new layout, customers will walk into the Christmas shop and on to an area of key homeware and gift brands. There will also be an entrance from the end of this building into the Re:Start precinct.