Take a look at Christchurch's new $400 million convention centre

A year into its construction, Christchurch's new $400 million convention centre is starting to take shape in the heart of the city.

Newshub got a first glimpse of the project, which is due to open in late 2020 and covers two city blocks.

The enormous building next door to Cathedral Square is one of the city's most anticipated post-quake projects.

CEO of land planning authority Otakaro John Bridgman says the construction is already well underway.

"We're nearly 25 percent on the build on the convention centre, including the auditorium and the exhibition hall and associated admin buildings."

Known as Te Pae, the centre will house a huge auditorium, a 200-booth exhibition hall, and 24 meeting rooms.

It's a big undertaking - 15,000 cubic metres of concrete and 1450 tonnes of steel have been installed since last November.

The site had been sitting empty for years but now, it's finally on schedule to open in late 2020.

Loren Heaphy, general manager of Christchurch NZ, says they are incredibly confident that Te Pae is running to time.

"We're getting interest and bookings from Australia, China and around the country."

To get there, construction will have to ramp up considerably, with 75 workers currently on site this will soon be over 400.

The next step is to install the roof on the 1400-seat auditorium. That will begin in a few weeks, allowing the internal fit out to start.

CEO of Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, Leeann Watson, says it positive for tourism in Christchurch.

The finished project is expected to pump $90-$100 million into the local economy every year.

"People who attend conferences tend to stay longer than the average tourist so, again, it's estimated that they spend about twice the amount of the average tourist here in Christchurch," says Ms Watson.

The hope now is that Christchurch's Convention Centre will be worth the wait.