The City Mall encompasses Cashel Street from the River Avon to the High Street intersection and the latter street to the junction of Colombo and Hereford Streets. The concept originated in 1965 as part of a central city redevelopment study. The project was publicly notified in the 1968 District Scheme, and again in the 1979 Review.
In 1981, the Christchurch City Council, in collaboration with the Cashel and High Street Businessmen's Associations, adopted the design of the City Architect's Division and authorised implementation. The streets were closed to traffic on 11 January 1982 and the Mall was opened by the former Mayor, Sir Hamish Hay, on 7 August 1982.
Comprising a length of almost half a kilometre and an area of 9550 square metres, the Mall provided part of the planned visual focus and pedestrian link for the inner city. The raised brick planters contain European and North American deciduous trees (to maximise winter sunshine) and circular hardwood seats on steel frames are also provided. The total cost was $503,000, of which $240,000 was for underground services and street lighting.
In the early 1990s, the Mall underwent further refurbishment with tree planters, new seating and paving. The Oxford Terrace footpath was extended to provide a large area for outdoor seating partially screened from the traffic yet still allowing views to the river. Stage III of the Mall was officially opened by the Mayor, Ms Vicki Buck 4 December 1992. Outdoor areas for restaurants and bars were developed along Oxford Terrace in the late 1990s.
Further upgrading took place in 2004/05.
After the 22 February 2011 earthquake, part of the City Mall remained in the Red Zone while part of it was developed into the Re:START shopping area.
This was originally derived from the Christchurch City Council handbook of 1998.