Precinct Properties New Zealand is trying to liquidate a company which signed a deal to rent the top two floors of Auckland's Commercial Bay office project but has since ghosted the NZX-listed company.
A court judgment released late last year reveals Golden Tower NZ, which told Precinct in November 2017 it no longer wanted to rent the top two floors of the new development, abandoned its offices and had not responded to court action by the building owner.
Golden Tower is owned by Kawo Chan of Mount Roskill, Companies Office records indicate, and its sole director is Hongwen Song. In 2016 it had purchased the NZAX listing of mobile payments minnow Lateral Corp and said it wanted to grow its property portfolio.
Precinct wants payment from the company of $379,000 for legal and leasing fees relating to the failed deal.
The NZX-listed office building owner has tried to serve proceedings on Golden Tower but its offices appear abandoned, associate judge Roger Bell wrote in a decision dated December 5.
It did not respond to Precinct's original claim, which resulted in an undefended hearing over whether Golden Tower should be forced to meet the terms of the contract.
The High Court heard how Golden Tower signed a 10-year lease but changed its mind, NBR reported in May 2018.
Last September, Precinct made an application to liquidate Golden Tower on the basis that it was a creditor.
However, associate judge Bell said Precinct needed to prove its claim for damages by judgment or arbitrators' award.
"Until that happens, however, the respondent's claim for damages is unliquidated and, as I see it, cannot constitute 'a debt'."
While Precinct's lawyer, Russell McVeagh partner Malcolm Crotty, told the judge that the amounts could not be disputed, the judge said there could be arguments over tax and anyway Precinct could re-let the premises.
Precinct's website indicates there is still part of the top floor - level 39 - available to let - and all of level 38.
In its December quarterly update, Precinct said it had filled 82 per cent of the office block, which is due to open in April this year.