Auckland District Law Society chiefs have for the second time this year proposed the sale of its Chancery Chambers in the city's CBD, after members rejected a proposal in July.
Joanna Pidgeon, president, has written to members saying publicity generated by opponents of the previous sale resulted in an offer above the $14.9m previous price.
So the council's society was duty-bound to put that second offer before members, she said. A respected commercial property landlord with a passion for heritage properties now wanted the building, valued at only $13.9m and with a rateable value of just $14m, Pidgeon said.
Since the last proposal was put, the situation had changed, she said.
High-level seismic investigations by previous buyers could mean strengthening works needed to be brought forward and that could significantly affect rental income.
Rooftop functions for more than 50 people were not possible. The Christmas party could not be held on the roof and the society's AGM could not be held on the premises because of numbers being restricted.
Chiefs at the society were committed to buying alternative premises in the CBD and had found options for less than the sale price, she said.
Pidgeon also noted how the previous proposal to sell the building was only narrowly defeated.
"The council firmly believes that sale of the building is in the best interest of its members, the organisation and the tenants. Should the members agree to this proposal and the building gets sold, the sale is subject to existing tenancies which will continue," she said.
An information evening is planned for next Wednesday and voting on the latest sale proposal will be via postal ballot.
Opponents expressed surprise at the latest communication.
"Why, if the plan is to sell the building, is an offer from an unnamed investor being considered, rather than the building being put up for tender or auctioned?" one opponent asked. Inability to hold a Christmas party on the rooftop was a "laughable" reason for recommending the sale, he said.
Society council members had refused to give details of the reports they had relied on which led them to decide the sale was a good idea earlier this year, the critic said, and no new reports were being provided to members on this second deal.
The renewed attempt to sell was being justified on the vague basis that a seismic investigation has shown that a previous positive earthquake report may not be accurate, he said. But the society chiefs had given no undertaking to reveal the exact contents of that report, he said.
Another member said the postal vote route was not the right way to go and he wants another special general meeting so members can voice their views.