There are very few places as notorious and iconic as Michael Jackson’s ‘Neverland’ Ranch. An opulent and downright decadent palace, ‘Neverland’ served as Mr. Jackson’s private Xanadu for the final years of his complex life. But now, local real estate agents are reporting that the former amusement park is officially up for sale.
The vendors are seeking a truly whopping $131 million for the 1000 hectare property outside of Santa Barbara. Boasting more than twenty two unique buildings, many of Mr. Jackson’s fixtures have since been removed. There are no more Ferris wheels and lion cages, and the ranch has since come into the possession of new owners who have re-christened the property as the Sycamore Valley Ranch.
But some signs of Mr. Jackson remain indelibly etched into the landscape. Buried deep in the sprawling gardens and marble fountains, there is a decorative shrub that has been forever stretched into an unmovable shape that spells the word ‘Neverland’.
In the main house, six bedrooms stretch across two luxurious levels. There’s a private movie theatre and a stage purpose-built for live performing. Despite the massive asking price, the house was first sold by the Jackson estate for a paltry $22 million. As ‘Neverland’ was the place at the centre of numerous sexual abuse scandals involving the pop star, it seemed as though there were very few potential buyers.
When Mr. Jackson died, he was not in a good place. Financially, artistically and physically, the once-unstoppable musician was in rapid decline. With debts piling up (news reports estimated that Mr. Jackson was more than $500 million in debt) and increasing pressure to tour, the singer eventually found himself with no way out. In 2009, at the age of fifty, the King Of Pop suddenly died of cardiac arrest and acute intoxication related to questionable prescriptions.
Since his death, Mr. Jackson’s estate has amassed a $700 million dollar fortune. In the years following the singer’s untimely death, two full-length albums, several books, a theatrically released film and a circus-themed stage show have established him as a truly long-lasting cultural presence. Despite their willingness to monetise the pop star’s image, the Jackson family have confirmed that the ranch will never be opened for public viewing.
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