By Phyllis Stark. CREATED Aug 1, 2014
The famed former home of Michael Jackson, Neverland Ranch, is being readied for sale by current owner Thomas Barrack Jr.’s Colony Capital LLC. The Los Olivos, California, estate includes a Tudor style mansion set on 2,680 acres of land.
Jackson named the property after the island of Lost Boys in the book “Peter Pan.” It is located about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles in the Santa Ynez Valley.
“We’ve really just been custodians of an irreplaceable estate and are proud to say we’ve restored it to the original elegance Michael first envisioned,” Barrack told Bloomberg, adding that he wants the property to remain “an enduring tribute to Michael Jackson.”
“Barrack wouldn’t give an asking price for the ranch,” reports Bloomberg. “His Santa Monica, California-based firm took control of the property after buying a $23.5 million note on it in November 2008, when Jackson faced mounting debts and the real estate market was in free fall. The ranch is assessed at $30.3 million by Santa Barbara County.”
“Because the property is zoned for agriculture,” Bloomberg further reports, “it would require approval to be subdivided or turned into a tourist attraction similar to Elvis Presley’s Graceland home in Memphis.”
Jackson purchased the estate in 1988 and “turned it into a combination amusement park and zoo, where he entertained fans and was frequently seen with his pet chimpanzee Bubbles, who now resides at a sanctuary in Wauchula, Florida,” Bloomberg reports. “The singer stopped visiting the ranch after it was searched by police investigating allegations of child molestation, leading to charges for which Jackson was tried and acquitted in 2005.”
Jackson died in 2009.
His estate is “saddened at the prospect of the sale of Neverland which, under the agreement negotiated during Michael’s lifetime, Colony has the right to sell,” the estate told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement. “We hope and trust that any new owners of Neverland will respect the historical importance and special nature of this wonderful property.”