EXCLUSIVE I’ve confirmed that Michael Jackson’s long ago abandoned Neverland Ranch is finally being sold. Colony Capital, which holds the note on the property, now known as Sycamore Valley Ranch, really has no choice. Neverland cannot be converted into a museum because of zoning laws in Santa Barbara County and in the town of Los Olivos. They will market and sell the property, although no sale has taken place yet.
The place was left high and dry by Michael Jackson in June 2005 after his acquittal on charges of child molestation and conspiracy. He never returned. Colony saved Neverland from foreclosure when they became Jackson’s partners. Before they intervened, Neverland was frittered away. Michael let the staff go without salaries for weeks on end. He did nothing to maintain it and had no interest in it. So let’s not romanticize the situation. When he left after the trial he said he wasn’t going back, and he didn’t.
Neverland was dismantled a long time ago, with all the rides and animals sold off to various entities. The contents of the home went into storage, and much of that has been sold. You can’t go back in time, kids. It’s sad, but it’s all over.
The property is currently appraised at around $30 million.
Here’s the statement from the Michael Jackson estate:
We are 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 will maintain Michael’s family home in Encino, including its iconic recording studio there. We continue to build upon Michael’s legacy as an artistic genius and humanitarian through his music and new projects such as the Michael Jackson ONE show in Las Vegas. We hope and trust that any new owners of Neverland will respect the historical importance and special nature of this wonderful property. Michael’s memory lives on in the hearts of his fans worldwide.