Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch finally off the market

Five years after being put on the market in 2015 at an initial price of US$100 million (RM403 million), Neverland Ranch was finally sold to billionaire-businessman Ronald W. Burkle at a price of US$22 million in Dec 2020.

During its five years in the real estate market, the property’s listing was on and off and underwent multiple price cuts over the years. In 2019, Wall Street Journal reported that it was cut down to US$31 million.

The property, once owned by the late Michael Jackson, is located in Los Olivos, California, sitting on the edge of Los Padres National Forest. Within 2,700 acres, it consists of a 12,000 sq ft main house, two guest houses with four bedrooms and two bedrooms respectively, several barns, animal shelter facilities, a maintenance shop and a four-acre lake with a fountain.

Designed in French Normandy style, the main house boasts large rooms of formal living and dining, multiple fireplaces and a chef’s kitchen that can accommodate large functions as well. Besides that, the main house provides six bedrooms with one of the rooms being a two-storey master suite with a fireplace in the sitting room, two large bathrooms and cedar walk-in closets.

Outdoor, the land is equipped with a swimming pool, barbecue area, basketball court, tennis court and a 50-seat movie theatre building with its own private balcony and stage.

The late “King of Pop” spotted the property for the first time when he visited ex-Beatles’ Paul McCartney to film the music video of the song “Say Say Say” in 1983. Jackson would later purchase the property in 1988 from land developer William Bone.

After purchasing the land, Jackson designed the area into an amusement park as a way to fulfil the childhood he never had growing up. The private amusement park consisted of carnival rides, an electric train ride and a plethora of zoo animals. 

Formerly known as Zaca Laderas Ranch, it was named Sycamore Valley Ranch by William Bone. Jackson renamed it Neverland Ranch with inspiration from J.M Barrie’s fantasy world in “Peter Pan” to fit his childhood fantasy. In May 2015, Neverland Ranch was reverted to Sycamore Valley Ranch in hopes of departing from its former image tied to the eccentric singer.

Burkle, who was a former associate of Jackson, has a fortune empire from buying and selling grocery store chains and is a part-owner of National Hockey Leagues Pittsburgh Penguins.

This story first appeared in the e-weekly on Jan 15, 2021. You can access back issues here.

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