AOS to sell Delray Beach, Florida, headquarters building

(The following is an open letter from Chris Rehmann, Vice President of the America Orchid Society.)

On July 24, 2010, the Trustees of the American Orchid Society met to resolve the ongoing financial matters facing us. 

As a major step taken to refocus the Society on our core values, the trustees approved the establishment of a task force to investigate the sale of the headquarters building. In addition, adjustments were made to the 2010-2011 budget to balance anticipated cash flow.

Current economic conditions are difficult and we must remain solvent in today’s economy.  The overhead cost associated with the building and gardens have diverted funds from the primary mission of the Society.  The trustees believe that it is in the long-term best interest of the members to make these changes.  The facility will continue with a full schedule of events and activities during the process. 

Times are different now from those days when the decision was made to construct the headquarters.  No one can say that the building and gardens are not beautiful.  Many members have provided funds, time and labor to make the headquarters a first-class destination.  We will never be able to thank them enough for their efforts.

It will be difficult to recover the value of the building because of today’s economics, but if we do not plan now, we may miss opportunities that present themselves.  The sale of a facility of this size will take time and it is not the intention of the trustees to sell the property at just any price.  Appropriate consultants will be retained to determine the potential uses allowed under current zoning as well as the feasibility of rezoning the property and professional appraisers will determine a fair market price.  New locations will be investigated as well as the costs to relocate the Society’s missions-related operations.  We have much work ahead of us.

During the last ten years, many dedicated people have worked to make the facility a major asset to the Society.  No one anticipated the economic disaster that has befallen all businesses worldwide.  Non-profits everywhere have felt the devastating impact.  The Trustees believe these actions are necessary to financially strengthen the AOS and ensure its ongoing contribution to the orchid community.

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