Now $33m cheaper: Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch

Give Me Half a Chance, wealthy Michael Jackson fans will be crying to themselves this week, as Neverland goes back up for sale – with a hefty $33 million discount.

The infamous ranch was bought by Michael Jackson in 1987 for $19.5 million. “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” became the motto of the King of Pop, who turned it into nothing less than a personal amusement park, adding everything from theme park rides to a zoo. I Wanna Be Where You Are, thought many onlookers, as he turned his purchase into a dream home.

The estate was also used to back a $24.5 million loan, though, which Jackson defaulted on, causing investment firm Colony Capital LLC to acquire a stake in the property in 2008. Since his tragic death in 2009, the home fell into disrepair, while the attractions and animals were sold – do not Blame It On the Boogie, though, as this was part of the firm’s plan to strip, renovate and put the property up for sale.

And so, in 2015, “Sycamore Valley Ranch” (located in Los Olivos) was listed on the market for $100 million. The estate included the main mansion, guesthouse, basketball court and private cinema, but had lost the theme park rides and orangutans. What is left of Neverland? A fire department building, explained the Wall Street Journal , as well as two lakes, a llama and a train station. And, inside the property, a stage with “trap doors for magic shows”.

This initial listing was shared between Suzanne Perkins of Sotheby’s International Realty, Harry Kolb of Sotheby’s and Jeffrey Hyland of Hilton & Hyland. “Extensive prequalification” would be required for any curious buyers, the agents told the WSJ.

“Our seller is not encouraging a lot of showings,” added Mr. Hyland.

“We’re not going to be giving tours,” commented Ms. Perkins.

“We hope and trust that any new owners of Neverland will respect the historical importance and special nature of this wonderful property,” the Jackson estate said the year before. “Michael’s memory lives on in the hearts of his fans worldwide.”

Since then, Neverland’s memory has certainly lived on in property buyer’s hearts, as the one-of-a-kind home was featured in a drone video capturing the Santa Barbara estate in its expansive beauty last year.

Now, the home has come back on to the market once again, but with a significant discount to try and attract a buyer. The new price? $67 million.

“A property of quintessential California beauty and rare privacy, Sycamore Valley Ranch formerly known as Neverland Ranch, is both residence and retreat,” describes the ranch’s new listing.

A wine grape feasibility report has also been completed on the estate, rating it well suited to providing high quality wine grapes.

“This is a rare and truly remarkable estate of 50 maintained acres surrounded by some four square miles of natural beauty running to the distant mountain ridges. Structures of magnificent quality and comfortable luxury make this a singular residence,” it concludes.

Agent Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker Previews told the Wall Street Journal (via Curbed) that the price has been adjusted to bring it in line with the values of other properties in the area, which top out at around $40 million. This Is It, folks. Neverland ranch is never likely to be more affordable than it is now.


Photo: Joyce Rey (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)