The Christchurch town hall was opened in 1972 on the banks of the Avon River. It was originally a project of six local authorities – the Christchurch City Council, the Paparoa and Heathcote county councils, the Riccarton and Lyttelton borough councils and the Waimairi District Council – which provided all but $500,000 of the $4 million cost. Until the February 2011 earthquake, the building comprised a large symphony auditorium seating 2,500, a theatre seating 1,000, and a number of convention and function rooms. It was a major cultural asset for Christchurch. The building suffered severely in the earthquake and became unusable. However, the city has indicated its commitment to rebuilding the town hall as part of a performing arts precinct. The work is expected to be completed by 2018.
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