Reviving the Magic: Inside the Abandoned Remains of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, Sold for £22m

Reviving the Magic: Inside the Abandoned Remains of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, Sold for £22m

Neverland’s Transformation: Ron Burkle Purchases Michael Jackson’s Former Estate at a Fraction of its Original Price

After five years of lying vacant, the renowned Neverland ranch, once owned by the late Michael Jackson, has found a new owner. Businessman Ron Burkle, who previously served as a business advisor to the King of Pop, has acquired the sprawling Californian property for a mere $22 million, a stark contrast to its initial listing price of $100 million in 2016.

Neverland, now known as Sycamore Valley Ranch, holds a significant place in Jackson’s history. The pop icon purchased the estate in 1988 for an estimated $19.5 to $30 million and invested over $35 million in transforming it into his dream theme park. The sprawling 2,800-acre property boasted attractions such as a Ferris wheel, train station, and go-kart track. However, since Jackson’s untimely passing, the estate has remained unoccupied and fallen into a state of disrepair.

Located in Santa Barbara County, California, the Neverland ranch became the center of attention due to the controversial documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which alleged that Michael Jackson sexually abused two boys decades ago. Despite efforts from Jackson’s family and estate to prevent its release, the film sparked renewed interest in the property.

Ron Burkle, a billionaire businessman, currently owns over 1,000 acres of land in California and sees the acquisition of Neverland as a strategic investment opportunity rather than an immediate development project. With no immediate plans to build or alter the property, Burkle views it as a valuable addition to his land portfolio.

Neverland’s legacy extends beyond its ownership. Originally named after the fantasy island in the story of Peter Pan, Neverland served as Michael Jackson’s home for 15 years. It wasn’t merely a residence but also a private amusement park featuring a floral clock, artistic garden statues, and a petting zoo. The estate included two railroads, a 3 ft narrow gauge known as the “Neverland Valley Railroad,” and a 2 ft narrow gauge railroad with a locomotive named CP Huntington.

Throughout its history, Neverland witnessed notable events, such as the wedding of Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky in 1991, Jackson’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993, and a gathering where Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley hosted children from around the world in 1995.

However, after being searched by police during the trial in which Jackson faced charges of child molestation in 2003 (and was later acquitted), the artist vowed never to return to Neverland. The subsequent closure of the facilities in 2006 and the departure of most staff marked the end of an era for the once vibrant estate.

As Ron Burkle takes the reins of Neverland, the future of this iconic property remains uncertain. Its rich history, association with Michael Jackson, and intriguing potential make it a captivating site that continues to capture the imagination of fans and curious onlookers alike.