Diggers are currently tearing down a six-level car park building next to the central Christchurch landmark to allow the first stage of the hotel's restoration to begin later this year.
The 4.5-star, 14-storey Rydges Hotel was badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake and has been deserted until now.
An agreement with insurers following a decade-long $190 million dispute has allowed the hotel's Singapore-based owner to initiate the work to rebuild and repair the building.
The demolition of the central city site is expected to be finished by April.
- By Geoff Sloan, made with the support of NZ On Air