An investigation will begin today into the cause of a massive building blaze in central Christchurch yesterday.

An abandoned building in the old Sol Square precinct burned for several hours and brought the city centre to a standstill after fire broke out around 4.45pm.

A Fire Service spokesman said fire safety investigators would return to the Tuam St property this morning to determine how the fire started.

Eight fire crews fought the blaze and plumes of smoke were seen across the city as the fire took hold of the multi-storey property.