Future of Neverland Ranch unclear
As reports of the death of pop megastar Michael Jackson rolled in, the co-owner of his Neverland Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley said it wouldn’t comment on the future of the property.
“I can’t imagine we’re going to discuss that at this point,” Owen Blicksilver, a spokesman for Colony Capital, told the Business Times. “Right now, our thoughts are with him and his family.”
Jackson defaulted on a $24.5 million loan backed by the ranch last year. Los Angeles-based Colony Capital bought the loan for $23 million and put it into a joint venture with Jackson.
Multiple news sources reported that Jackson was rushed to a University of California, Los Angeles, hospital after going into cardiac arrest June 25. The Los Angeles Times and other news outlets reported that Jackson died, citing confirmation from multiple Los Angeles County and city officials.
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Colony undertook an extensive renovation of Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley. Crews removed amusement-park rides, elephants and orangutans in an effort to turn the ranch into a lucrative asset, the newspaper reported.
The ranch became infamous after Jackson was accused of molesting young boys there. He was acquitted of those charges in 2005 after a high-profile criminal trial in Santa Maria.
The net assessed value of the 2,500-acre ranch is $27 million, according to county assessor’s records.