The quake-decimated heart of Christchurch will be redesigned by a consortium led by a top New Zealand design firm, it was announced today, with a new blueprint for the CBD expected by the end of July.

Boffa Miskell will be the lead company in a consortium that includes representatives from Populous, Woods Bagot, Sheppard and Rout, Warren and Mahoney, and RCP.

They have been given the massive task of coming up with the blueprint for how a new central business district will look by July 27.

An estimated 80 per cent of CBD buildings are being demolished after being damaged in last year's killer February 22 earthquake.


Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs said the selection process was difficult due to the high calibre of the applicants.

Mr Isaacs said: "I have been incredibly impressed by the drive and commitment towards the rebuild that came through from all those who applied to be part of this development.

"It is clear that the desire to rebuild Christchurch as a modern, green, exciting city is shared by the people working in the development and planning industries, as well as the residents who live here."

Mr Isaacs said Boffa Miskell and its partners have vast experience in design and planning, which are key components to the development of the central city.

"We have a tight timeframe to get the work done, but with the team we have developed with Boffa Miskell, I am quite confident that the blueprint development will now be full steam ahead and delivered to the Minister on time."

Boffa Miskell director Don Miskell said he wanted to create a blueprint that would result in "an inspiring place to live and work in" and one that "future generations can be proud of".

They need to complete an "scoping report" outlining their proposed direction by Friday next week and a first draft by June 15.

The final blueprint is expected by July 27.

The contract is believed to be worth about $1 million but additional costs may be identified as the 100-day programme proceeds.

The CCDU confirmed 19 original proposals had been whittled down to a shortlist of four before making their final announcement.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) chief executive Roger Sutton said he was "excited" by the announcement.

He wants the blueprint to incorporate many of the ideas put forward through the widely-praised Share An Idea scheme.

"We start off with a clean sheet of paper - it's a once in a lifetime opportunity."

The Boffa Miskell-led team will be based in the CCDU offices at Cera headquarters in the city centre. Their work started today.

Boffa Miskell, a firm set up in Christchurch 40 years ago, has worked on the Picton Waterfront development, Millbrook Resort in Queenstown and the Wynyard Quarter Sustainable Development framework.

One of the other firms, Australian-based consultancy Populous includes the London Olympics stadium, the new Yankee Stadium in New York and Forsyth Barr stadium in Dunedin on its resume.