The San Francisco-based investment firm co-developing a planned wind farm on Molokai says that it is interested in buying Hana Ranch in rural East Maui.
Bio-Logical Capital - which describes itself as a land investment, development and conservation company - said Tuesday that it is exploring the purchase of the 4,500-acre ranch that surrounds Hana town.
"As a company that is committed to making long-term investments in projects that heal land and communities through stewardship development, Bio-Logical Capital is interested in historic Hana Ranch as a place where it could realize these goals and continue the legacy of this remarkable ranch," the company said in a statement provided to The Maui News.
Hana Ranch cows graze near Hamoa Beach in Hana in this photo taken last year. Bio-Logical Capital, a San Francisco-based investment firm co-developing a planned wind farm on Molokai, has shown interest in purchasing Hana Ranch.
The Maui News / NANEA KALANI photo
Hana Ranch is listed for sale for $55 million by Island Sotheby's International Realty. Owner Hana Ranch Partners originally put it on the market for $65 million in 2008.
San Francisco attorney Harrison Sheppard, a member of the executive committee of Hana Ranch Partners, said he had no comment on a potential sale to Bio-Logical.
"We are subject to a confidentiality agreement," Sheppard said. In general, he said, the ranch is "looking for a buyer who has the money to buy the ranch at a price we can accept."
Keiki-Pua Dancil, vice president for Bio-Logical Capital's Hawaii operations, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The real estate listing for the property describes the ranch as having "nearly two miles of oceanfront property, located in one of the last places in Hawaii untouched by the stresses of urbanization and over-development. Evocative of yesterday's Hawaii, Hana is famous for its scenic location and idyllic isolation, combined with a rural atmosphere and small town friendliness."
The ranch's landholdings include more than 3,800 acres mauka of the roadway that meanders through the town, and another 667 acres on the makai side. Most of the land is rolling pasturelands.
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey in 2002 bought about 105 acres in Hana from Hana Ranch Partners for $15.5 million. (Winfrey bought another 1,000 acres of Haleakala Ranch land in Upcountry in 2004.)
Hana Ranch, with about 1,200 head of cattle today, was founded in 1944 by Paul Fagan with 14,000 acres of land and a herd of cattle from Molokai. It has since changed hands several times.
Hana Ranch and Hotel Hana-Maui were bought in 1984 by Rosewood Corp. of Texas, which in turn sold the properties for $63 million to Keola Hana-Maui, made up of mostly Japanese investors.
Meridian Financial Resources bought the ranch and hotel in 2000 and split the entities up, selling the ranch in 2001 to Hana Ranch Partners for $24 million, and the hotel to Passport Resorts of California for $10.6 million.
Ohana Hotel Co. bought the hotel in 2009 and sold it the following year to Amstar Group of Denver, which has renamed the luxury resort Travassa Hana.
It's unclear what Bio-Logical Capital would do with Hana Ranch.
The company's website says that it "invests for the long term and integrates sustainable, land-based businesses with ecological restoration and conservation." Under a "what we do" tab, the company lists: sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, water stewardship, real estate and eco-tourism.
Bio-Logical Capital and Pattern Energy, also based in San Francisco, last year formed the joint venture Molokai Renewables LLC to study the feasibility of developing a 200-megawatt wind farm on Molokai.
The company has said the controversial project could include roughly 70 large wind turbines sited on 11,000 acres of Molokai Ranch land.
An earlier attempt by First Wind to build a wind farm on Molokai fell through last year when the company failed to secure land rights for the project.
The Molokai project would be one-half of the state's so-called Big Wind project that would join another 200-megawatt wind farm planned for Lanai. The farms would feed the energy to Oahu through undersea transmission cables.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at email@example.com.