Christchurch ticks off another post-quake milestone with opening of $60 million Riverside Market

Christchurch is marking another post-quake milestone as food caravans shut up shop and move back into a permanent building. 

The Riverside Market, a $60 million project, is set to open to the public on Monday.

After eight years' trading from a caravan, Dimitri Merentitis is closing the window for the last time.

The caravan has been his lifeline after the Christchurch earthquakes destroyed his central city souvlaki shop.

"After the earthquake our shop was so damaged, without the caravan I would not be here," he told Newshub.

He's now joining other displaced food traders in marking a post-quake milestone, as they prepare to move back into a permanent building.

"I feel better," he says. "I don't have to pray for the weather anymore." 

Developer Richard Peebles told Newshub the development would house 80 tenants.

"There's lots of fresh produce, local produce, and local people," he says. "And then there's the retail side as well."

Eighty percent of the market has already been leased. The whole complex is about 8000sqm in size, and with outdoor seating overlooking the Avon River, it's designed to cater to just over 1000 people.

Materials salvaged from the quake have been woven into the design - ironbark from Lyttelton Wharf, recycled rimu and a clock from the old Science Alive building.

"We really feel that a lot of the historic fabric has been destroyed and demolished as a result of the earthquake," developer Mike Pekasky says. "So wherever we could, we've tried to keep and capture some of that fabric."

It's hoped the market will draw people back into the central business district.

"We feel like we're way over the hump now," Pekasky told Newshub. "We look around now and think it's got infrastructure now that's world class. 

"We need to tell New Zealand and the world that we're back."