Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch sold to billionaire for just $22M despite being listed for $100M
Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch has been sold for $22M after it was initially listed for almost four times that amount. The property, which is located in California, was bought by the pop legend in 1987 for around $19.5M. It was now resold to billionaire businessman Ron Burkle. According to the Wall Street Journal, it had been on and off the market after initially being listed for $100M in 2015.
Last year, the property was listed for around $31M, which is a much larger amount than what it was eventually sold for. Prior to his death in 2009, Jackson sold the infamous property to Colony Capital for around $22.5M. Jackson's estate had co-owned the ranch "with a fund managed by Colony Capital, a real-estate investment trust".
Jackson had defaulted on a loan, which was backed by Neverland and Colony "bought the note in 2008, putting the property’s title into a joint venture it formed with the pop star". The 2,700-acre property is located near Santa Barbara and boasts of a 12,000 sq foot mansion.
It also features a 50-seat movie theater, a basketball court and several guest houses. It once even had a railroad and an amusement park that had a Ferris wheel and a merry-go-round, the majority of which has now been removed. It was named 'Neverland' after the story of Peter Pan.
The 'Thriller' singer died at the age of 50 of an overdose and had stopped visiting the property in 2005 after he was acquitted of child molestation charges. In the year 2019, Dan Reed released a documentary titled 'Leaving Neverland' where Wade Robson and James Safechuck claimed that Jackson had sexually abused them as children at his ranch.
'Leaving Neverland' had premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2019 and focused on the two men, Robson and Safechuck, who alleged that the star sexually abused them. While the film won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Non-fiction Special, it received mixed reviews from viewers and was branded by the singer's estate as a "tabloid character assassination".
During the attempts to re-sell the ranch, Neverland was renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch in an effort to rebrand it. According to a spokesperson for Burkle, the businessman sees the ranch purchase as a land banking opportunity. Burkle is also a co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team and is said to have put an offer on the property after he had seen it from the air.
At the time, Burkle had been looking at another location and had then contacted the founder of real estate investment company Colony Capital LLC, Tom Barrack, to close the sale. At the time, the ranch was off the market.
As reported by FirstPost, Burkle's spokesman shared that the billionaire had been eyeing Zaca Lake, which adjoins the property, for a new Soho House — a members-only club that has locations in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Toronto.