Neverland Ranch is undergoing renovations, but its ultimate fate is unclear.
Dubbed the King of Pop Michael Jackson’s it was 13 years since the death on June 25.
The pop star, who died of a heart attack at the age of 50, left behind a huge legacy in the form of music, publicity and luxury real estate. One of the symbols of Jackson’s colorful life was his home farm called Neverland Ranch.
Jackson bought the 1,000+ acre farm for $19.5 million in 1988. The farm in Santa Barbara, California was called Sycamore Valley Ranch. Jackson changed the name to Neverland Ranch, a reference to the What-Which Land in the Peter Pan fairy tale.
Jackson built the farm into the fairy tale of his dreams, which, in addition to his home, had, among other things, a zoo, an amusement park and a tram line. The fairy tale ended in 2003, when the police came to the area to search for suspected crimes. Jackson was accused of sexually abusing children and giving alcohol to children.
Some of the suspected acts were said to have taken place on the farm. Jackson was found not guilty, but his reputation took a heavy hit. Jackson said his homestead was desecrated by the criminal investigation and he moved out in 2005 and never returned. However, the farm remained his property.
When Jackson died in 2009, Neverland Ranch was left to his estate. The farm was put up for sale in 2016 and its name was changed back to Sycamore Valley Ranch.
The original asking price was a whopping $100 million, but no buyer was found. In 2017, the farm was put up for sale again for 67 million. According to Time magazine, they did not want to sell the space to someone who would turn it into a Michael Jackson museum.
In February 2019, the catch price was reduced to 31 million. Finally, in December 2020, a businessman Ron Burkle bought the farm for 22 million, which was almost a fifth of the original price. Burkle knew Jackson and once served as his financial advisor.
According to the SF Gate news site, the farm is now undergoing major renovations. Burkle has said he wants to preserve the basic structures of the farm. He has been buying real estate and selling it at a profit for years, but it is not yet certain what he plans to do with that farm.
A dark history
In addition to the suspicions of sexual crimes, there are other dark stories about the farm’s history. The recent documentary Searching for Michael Jackson’s Zoo with Ross Kemp paints a stark picture of the conditions at the estate’s zoo.
The zoo is home to 50 different animal species and more than 130 animals in total, such as giraffes, elephants, tigers, llamas and parrots. Jackson let it be understood that he is an animal-loving person, but the findings of the documentary suggest the opposite.
According to the documentary, the animals were kept in small cages and suffered serious accidents and brutal deaths: one giraffe’s neck was dislocated after hitting a barn door, a parrot was eaten by a snake, and many animals were sold to questionable buyers when Jackson no longer wanted to keep them.
– It is possible to be a fan of Michael Jackson’s music and also know that he hated animals, animal rights activist Carole Davis shakes in the documentary.
He particularly disapproves of keeping exotic wild animals in cages.
– He (Jackson) suggested that imprisoning animals would be a good thing. He was wrong.