Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Neverland Valley Ranch (renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch)[1] is a developed property in Santa Barbara County, California, located at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Olivos, California 93441, that was first named Neverland in 1988. It is most famous for being the home of the American entertainer Michael Jackson.[2] Jackson named the property after Neverland, the fantasy island in the story of Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up. Jackson's first encounter with the ranch came when he visited Paul McCartney, who was staying there during their filming of the "Say Say Say" video. According to La Toya Jackson, Michael expressed interest to her in someday owning the property at that time.[3]

Neverland Ranch
Location 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Olivos, CA 93441
Coordinates 34°44′28″N 120°05′30″W / 34.74107°N 120.09158°W / 34.74107; -120.09158Coordinates: 34°44′28″N 120°05′30″W / 34.74107°N 120.09158°W / 34.74107; -120.09158
Owner Estate of Michael Jackson & Colony NorthStar
Opened 1988
Closed 2006
Area 3,000 acres (1,200 ha)
Total 50
Roller coasters 1
Neverland Ranch gates

Today, the ranch is owned by Colony NorthStar.[4] The ranch is located about 5 miles (8 km) north of unincorporated Los Olivos, and about eight miles (13 km) north of the town of Santa Ynez. The Chamberlin Ranch is to the west, and the rugged La Laguna Ranch, is to the north. The Santa Barbara County Assessor's office says the ranch is approximately 3,000 acres (1214 hectares).[5]


Residence of Michael JacksonEdit

Amusement rides in August 2008

The estate was originally known as the Zaca Laderas Ranch at the time of its purchase by the property developer William Bone in 1977. Bone renamed the estate the Sycamore Valley Ranch and moved there with his family. Bone commissioned the architect Robert Altevers to design the principal buildings on the ranch, and the pair spent two and a half years researching potential designs and ideas. The 13,000 square feet (1,200 m²) main house was completed in 1982, based on a design by architect Robert Altevers,[6] with formal gardens, a stone bridge, and a four-acre lake with a five-foot waterfall. Bone later said that in building the house he had "...a desire to express everything I had learned in 15 years of home building...I achieved here all the things I wanted to do in my business but could not".[7] He had considered converting the property to a country club but did not do so.[8]

Michael Jackson purchased the estate from Bone in 1988[9] for an amount that is not certain. Some sources indicate $19.5 million[10][11] while others suggest it was closer to $30 million US dollars.[12][13] The property was initially purchased by a trust with Jackson's lawyer, John Branca, and his accountant, Marshall Gelfand, as trustees, for reasons of privacy. The arrangement was later rescinded by Jackson in April 1988 and he became the ultimate owner of the property.[14] It was Jackson's home as well as his private amusement park and it contained a floral clock, numerous artistic garden statues featuring children, and a petting zoo. The amusement park included two railroads: one 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge named "Neverland Valley Railroad" with a steam locomotive named Katherine after his mother (Crown 4-4-0 (2B); built 1973 with two coaches), and the other a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge with a locomotive named C. P. Huntington made by Chance Rides.[15] There was also a Ferris wheel, Carousel, Zipper, Octopus, Pirate Ship, Wave Swinger, Super Slide, roller coaster, bumper cars, and an amusement arcade. The master closet also contained a secret safe room for security. Jackson was also an avid art collector.

Neverland's train station, Katherine Station, in July 2009

Some of the events that took place at the Ranch included the wedding of Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky in 1991, the live Oprah Winfrey interview of Jackson in 1993, and an event in 1995 when Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley hosted children from around the world.[16]

Neverland Ranch was searched extensively by police officers in connection with the People v. Jackson trial after he was charged with multiple counts of molesting a minor in 2003. Jackson was acquitted of all charges. However, Jackson stated he would never live at the property again as he no longer considered the ranch a home and did not return to Neverland.[17] He stated he felt the 70 police officers had "violated" the property in their searches.[18] Jackson's sister, La Toya, wrote of her experience staying at the ranch during her brothers trial in her 2012 memoir Starting Over.[19] In 2006, the facilities were closed and most of the staff were dismissed, with a spokesperson stating that this was the reflection of the fact that Jackson no longer lived there.

Financial statusEdit

Reports of foreclosure proceedings alleged to have commenced against Neverland Ranch on October 22, 2007 were published.[20][21] However, a spokesperson for Jackson said that the loan was merely being refinanced and Jackson (later his Estate) remained the majority stake holder, with a legal retention of 87.5% of the ranch.[22][23]

Former zoo buildings, July 2009

On February 25, 2008, Jackson received word from Financial Title Company, the trustee, that unless he paid off $24,525,906.61 by March 19, a public auction would go forward of the land, buildings, and other items such as the rides, trains, and art.[24][25] On March 13, 2008, Jackson's lawyer L. Londell McMillan announced that a private agreement had been reached with the private investment group, Fortress Investment, to save Jackson's ownership of the ranch.[26] Before the agreement, Jackson owed three months' arrears on the property.[26] McMillan did not reveal the details of the deal.

On May 12, 2008, a foreclosure auction for the ranch was canceled after Colony NorthStar, an investment company run by billionaire Tom Barrack, purchased the loan, which was in default. The selling price was $22.5 million.[27][28] In a press release, Jackson stated, "I am pleased with recent developments involving Neverland Ranch and I am in discussions with Colony and Tom Barrack with regard to the Ranch and other matters that would allow me to focus on the future."[29][30]

On November 10, 2008, Jackson transferred the title to Sycamore Valley Ranch Company, LLC, and neighbors reported immediate activity on the property, including the amusement rides being trucked along the highway.[1] Jackson still owned an unknown stake in the property, since Sycamore Valley Ranch was a joint venture between Jackson (represented by McMillan) and an affiliate of Colony NorthStar.[31][32][33][34] The Santa Barbara County Assessor's Office stated Jackson sold an unknown proportion of his property rights for $35 million.[35][36] Subsequent news reports however, indicated that Colony NorthStar had invested only $22.5 million in the property. [37] In any event, reliable sources indicate that Colony is the majority owner.[38][39][40]

Kyle Forsyth, Colony's project manager, described the estate's Tudor-style buildings and savannah-like grasslands as "English country manor meets Kenya." Eventually, Colony hopes to sell the ranch, located in Santa Barbara County, in its entirety. Subdividing it, says Mr. Forsyth, "would destroy it."[41]

Since 2009, the Neverland Ranch rides Balloon Samba, Jeeps, Wave Swinger and Dinos have been featured attractions at the California State Fair in Sacramento.[42]

Death of Michael JacksonEdit

Fans visiting the makeshift memorial set up outside the Neverland Ranch entrance shortly after Jackson's death.

Following Jackson's death, press reports during June 28–29, 2009, claimed that his family intended to bury him at the Neverland Ranch, eventually turning it into a place of pilgrimage for his fans, similar to how Graceland has become a destination for fans of Elvis Presley.[43][44] However, the singer's father Joseph Jackson later denied the reports.[45][46] Construction equipment and gardeners entered the grounds on July 1, prompting speculation that preparations were being made for something related to Jackson's death, but local officials stated that a burial there would be only allowed if the owners of the ranch would go through a permitting process with county and state government before establishing a cemetery at the site. Jackson's 2002 will gives his entire estate to a family trust.[47]

The ranch was the setting for two media appearances on July 2, 2009. Jermaine Jackson took The Today Show's Matt Lauer on a tour of the main house,[48] and he was interviewed on the grounds of the house by Larry King for his show.

In October 2010, reports came out that Michael Jackson's children intended to buy the property.[49]

In January 2013, singer Lady Gaga announced her willingness to help Jackson's children in keeping the ranch by investing in the property.[50]


Following the death of Michael Jackson in 2009, the neglected Neverland Ranch fell into disrepair. Saddened by a return trip to her childhood home in 2010, Jackson's daughter, Paris, resolved to acquire and restore the property in early 2013.[51] The amusement rides and animals were gone by then,[52] replaced with a meditative zen garden and a section decorated with Peter Pan, Michael Jackson's favorite fictional hero. The Jackson children intended the garden to be used for enjoyment by sick children.[citation needed]

In May 2015, it was announced that the Neverland Ranch, renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch, would be put up for sale with an initial price tag of $100 million. By that time, Colony NorthStar had completed extensive renovations to the property.[53] Many people, including fans, protested and disagreed with the decision. Jermaine Jackson, elder brother of Michael wrote an open letter to Colony NorthStar expressing his disagreement with their decision.[54]

As of May 2016, the 2,698 acre ranch, jointly owned by the Jackson estate and Colony NorthStar,[55] was being sold by Sotheby's International Realty with an asking price of $100 million.[56] The price included the 12,598 square foot six bedroom Normandy-style mansion, the four-acre lake with waterfall, a pool house, three guest houses, a tennis court, and a 5,500-square-foot movie theater and stage.[57][58] The train station and railway tracks were also included. According to TIME, the owners were "specifically looking for a buyer who doesn’t plan to turn the place into a museum for the singer".[59][60]

Due to lack of interest, the asking price of the ranch had fallen to $67 million by February 2017.[61][62] The property was still on the market in early 2018, at the same price, with Coldwell Banker.[63][64]


  1. ^ a b "Neverland Never More", by William Etling (author of Sideways in Neverland: Life in the Santa Ynez Valley),, 2009.
  2. ^ Toumi, Habib (January 23, 2006). "Jackson settles down to his new life in the Persian Gulf". Gulf News. Archived from the original on February 12, 2006. Retrieved November 11, 2006. 
  3. ^ La Toya Jackson; Jeffré Phillips (2012). Starting Over. Simon & Schuster. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-4516-2059-7. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Dispute shuts down Jackson ranch". BBC News. 2006-03-10. Retrieved 2007-03-03. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Neverland". Architectural Digest. October 31, 2009. Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Soriano, Cesar G (2003-11-24). "At Neverland, they believe". USA Today. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Vegas Hosting Big Jackson Family Auction". Fox News. Associated Press. 2007-05-29. 
  14. ^ J. Randy Taraborrelli (2010). Michael Jackson: The Magic, the Madness, the Whole Story. Pan. p. 386. ISBN 978-0-330-51565-8. 
  15. ^ "Surviving Steam Locomotive Search". 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Clements, Jo (2009-01-05). "Michael Jackson silences rumours of money trouble by renting a $100,000 a month mansion". Daily Mail. London. 
  19. ^ La Toya Jackson; Jeffré Phillips (29 May 2012). Starting Over. Simon and Schuster. p. 297. ISBN 978-1-4516-2059-7. 
  20. ^ "Neverland in Foreclosure?". 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  21. ^ "Foreclosure Detail Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  22. ^ "MJ Estate Second Accounting". 
  23. ^ "Jackson 'will not lose Neverland'". BBC News. 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  24. ^ Notice of Trustee's Sale, Santa Barbara County Recorder via Fox News Record no. 2008-0010131[permanent dead link], February 25, 2008
  25. ^ "Neverland Ranch Set for Auction". Forbes. Associated Press. 2008-02-26. Archived from the original on March 17, 2008. 
  26. ^ a b "Michael Jackson 'saves Neverland'". BBC News. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Foreclosure auction on Jackson's Neverland Ranch is canceled". CNN. Associated Press. 2008-05-13. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  29. ^ "Neverland Ranch Note Sold to Colony Capital" (Press release). Business Wire. 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  30. ^ "Neverland Ranch foreclosure auction canceled". Google News. Associated Press. 2008-05-12. Archived from the original on May 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  31. ^ Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch Is Sold Archived 2009-07-27 at the Wayback Machine.. TaleTela. Retrieved on 2011-05-18.
  32. ^ Neverland May Be Jacko's Ticket to Vegas. Retrieved on 2011-05-18.
  33. ^ Jacko gives up Neverland ranch deed Archived December 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ Adams, Susan (2009-04-14). "Ten Most Expensive Michael Jackson Collectibles". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. 
  35. ^ Michael Jackson Lets Neverland Fly Away. E! Online (2008-11-12). Retrieved on 2011-05-18.
  36. ^ People - Entertainment. (2008-11-13). Retrieved on 2011-05-18.
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^ smith, Ethan. (2009-06-13) Economic Reality Prompts a Makeover at 'Neverland' - Retrieved on 2011-05-18.
  42. ^ California State Fair 2009 Press Release Archived January 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  43. ^ Michael Jackson wanted to be buried at Neverland mansion The Daily Mirror June 28, 2008
  44. ^ Michael Jackson's funeral could be bigger than Elvis's and Princess Diana's, as up to a million mourners pour into LA The Daily Mail 28 June 2009
  45. ^ Michael Jackson will not be buried at Neverland Ranch New Musical Express 29 June 2009
  46. ^ Michael Jackson's Family Still Considering Funeral Plans MTV website June 29, 2009
  47. ^ "Jackson family says the singer's will has surfaced". Yahoo News. Los Angeles: The Associated Press. June 30, 2009. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  48. ^ Celizic, Mike (2 July 2009). "Jermaine Jackson: 'I wish it was me'". Retrieved 15 December 2017. 
  49. ^ "Michael Jackson's children 'want to buy back Neverland'". Daily Mail. London. 2010-10-17. 
  50. ^ "Lady Gaga wants to restore Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch". NME. London. 2013-01-16. 
  51. ^ "'Neverland has never looked better': Michael Jackson's children restore ranch to former glory as it's revealed rest of family abandoned site". London: Daily Mail Reporter. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^ "Michael Jackson's Onetime Neverland Lists for $100 Million". Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  55. ^
  56. ^ "5225 Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Olivos,California,93441 United States". Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2017. 
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^ "Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch back on market for $67M". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^

External linksEdit