Parts of old Puunene Mill sold, are being removed

Shuttered Puunene Mill is reflected in a puddle left by Tropical Storm Olivia on Sept. 12. Sugar operators from Florida and Central America currently are removing parts from the old mill. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Maui News

WAILUKU — Sugar operators from Florida and Central America currently are removing parts from the old Puunene Mill to be used elsewhere around the world, said Darren Strand, the general manager of diversified agriculture for Alexander & Baldwin on Maui.

“A lot of us feel a little bit of nostalgia, that people are taking it for use for sugar production for other parts of the world,” Strand said at a county Board of Water Supply meeting on Thursday. He was giving the board an update on the company’s water use.

He said that parts of the mill used by the old Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., an A&B subsidiary, were sold, and “those guys are on property taking it.”

On Dec. 17, 2016, the Puunene Mill smokestacks stopped puffing as HC&S closed its doors after 145 years in business. The closure of the 36,000-acre plantation meant the loss of 650 jobs and the end of an industry that shaped Hawaii for more than a century and a half.

The mill remains standing, but the equipment has been sold off. The Puunene Mill was the last remaining sugar mill in Hawaii.

There have been no upgrades around the mill and the property so far, Strand said.

The original mill at the site was built in 1901, according to the company.

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