Bio-Logical Capital, a land investment, development and conservation company, has purchased the main mauka portion of Hana Ranch for $4.75 million, a company official said Friday.
As announced in 2012, Bio-Logical Capital plans to transform the ranch into a "leading sustainable" cattle company and sustainable food producer. The sale involved roughly 3,600 acres mauka of Hana Highway.
A news release and fact sheet on the sale said that all on-site ranch employees have been offered jobs and some new local workers have been hired. The total number of employees is expected to increase, but exact numbers were not provided.
The fact sheet did say that jobs will be posted online and in the community when available.
Bio-Logical Capital has already made its mark on Maui; the company was featured in Oprah Winfrey's magazine last year as the operator of her Kula farm, where at least 100 varieties of crops have been grown. Bio-Logical Capital has offices in Honolulu, Denver and San Francisco.
Bio-Logical Capital will manage operations for landowner Hana Ranch Stewards, a special purchase entity created by Bio-Logical Capital to hold the Hana Ranch assets, said Bio-Logical spokeswoman Julie Witherspoon in an email Friday.
The seller, Hana Ranch Partners, has retained ownership of the coastal and town land makai of Hana Highway, about 350 acres. The makai land will continue to be used for grazing and will remain open to the public for fishing and beach access.
Hana Ranch Partners sold its cattle operations and its water utilities to Bio-Logical Capital. The ownership transfer of the two water utilities, Hana Water Co. and Hana Water Resources, needs approval by the state Public Utilities Commission.
Hana Ranch Partners will be submitting an application to the PUC to approve the ownership transfer, a news release said. In the meantime, Bio-Logical Capital will manage the water companies.
"With Hana's wet climate and fertile soil, our operations will help jump-start local food production in a state that currently imports more than 85 percent of its food from halfway across the Pacific Ocean. Importantly, Hana Ranch will retain its legacy as a scenic and productive ranch, allowing the ranch to prosper for generations to come," said Grant McCargo, founder and chief executive officer of Bio-Logical Capital.
The company plans to diversify food production at the ranch and will introduce sustainable farming of fruits, vegetables and other crops in addition to poultry and livestock.
"Food and agriculture are incredibly powerful community and economic drivers," said Josh Daniel, manager of Hana Ranch. "We would love to help create a local food economy in Hana and expand Hana Ranch operations to become what we hope will be one of the premier sustainable farms in the state."
Bio-Logical Capital will continue to have meetings with community leaders and work with the community regarding upcoming projects, according to a news release.
Hana Ranch was founded in 1944 by Paul Fagan with 14,000 acres of land and a herd of cattle from Molokai. In 2012, the ranch had 1,200 head of cattle.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.