Council-owned industrial buildings at Wynyard Quarter earmarked for the axe.

Moves are afoot to save two 20th century industrial buildings in the Wynyard Quarter, which are the subject of a secret deal condemning them.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has put out feelers about the two council-owned buildings in Packenham St after the public uproar at three Spanish mission-style houses being levelled in St Heliers.

The Wynyard Quarter buildings are believed to be part of a deal between the former Auckland City Council and a private land owner to remove eight buildings from a list of 17 deemed worthy of protection.

The deal is so secret that the parties have sworn to deny its existence.

The two Packenham St buildings - occupied by Southern Spars and Northern Sails - were built by engineers and boilermakers Mason Bros in 1943 and 1946.

The other six buildings under threat are a grouping of stores and workshops in Beaumont St, near the intersection with Fanshawe St.

These buildings are owned by Viaduct Harbour Holdings, a private company that owns 7.8ha at the Tank Farm and is controlled by richlisters Alan Gibbs, Trevor Farmer and Mark Whyborn, who have a combined fortune of $1 billion.

The company has not responded to questions from the Herald about its plans for the buildings.

A spokesman for Mr Brown yesterday said the mayor was aware the two Packenham St buildings were council-owned and controlled by the council's Waterfront Development Agency.

The mayor was working with agency chairman Bob Harvey and councillors Mike Lee and Sandra Coney on this matter, the spokesman said. Last night, Mr Harvey and Mr Lee said the two buildings were worth saving.

Mr Lee and Ms Coney are former members of the Auckland Regional Council, which appealed against the Wynyard Quarter plan change, arguing that all 17 buildings identified in 2006 by Salmond Reed heritage architects should be scheduled.

When the buildings were assessed on a points system by heritage consultant Tony Barnes in 2008 and reviewed internally by Auckland City Council heritage staff, they scored 40 and 42 points - below the 50 points needed for protection.

The two buildings are also on land that a private company, Infratil, has included in a bid for an international convention centre in Auckland.

Infratil's general manager of development, Andrew Lamb, said it had not held any discussions with the former Auckland City Council about the land the buildings were on, or addressed any of the planning implications.

A council spokesman said there had been no discussions between Infratil and the Waterfront Development Agency, or its predecessor, Sea+City, about the proposal for a convention centre in the Wynyard Quarter.

The Ministry of Economic Development is assessing five bids for a $200 million to $500 million convention centre in Auckland.

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee said the centre was still under consideration.