The latest rumor to moonwalk around the blogosphere is that rapper Kanye West is interested in buying Michael Jackson’s former Neverland estate — but for nowhere near the asking price.
Colony Capital, the Santa Monica-based firm headed by real estate mogul Tom Barrack, is trying to sell the late pop star’s notorious estate for $100 million.
The property got the green light to hit the market May 29 and local brokers from Sotheby’s International and Hilton & Hyland were scrambling to launch a new website — www.sycamorevalleyranch.com — to market the property. Even though shedding the controversial history of Neverland might be harder than simply changing the name, owning any piece of the prolific singer-songwriter’s life won’t go without generating a wave of interest from pop-culture fanatics, wealthy eccentrics and other Jackson acolytes.
Suzanne Perkins, one of the Sotheby’s luxury market brokers, told the Business Times the $100-million price tag is certainly fair for the sprawling compound.
Located at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road in Los Olivos, the property features a 12,500-square-foot, six-bedroom Normandy-style main house, a four-acre lake and waterfall and a pool. Additionally, there is a tennis court and four-bedroom guest house, plus numerous others structures, including a 5,500-square foot, 50-seat movie theater with a stage, several barns, animal shelter facilities, corrals and a maintenance shop. The amusement park rides are gone, but the train tracks still exist.
According to Business Times research, the property, which sits on nearly 2,600 acres, has a total assessed value of $30.3 million. The improvement value — the structures and other built features — of the property is about $6.9 million.
A number of reports about the property’s listing indicate that Colony has spent millions on renovating the ranch since it bought it in 2008.
Jackson paid $19.5 million for the ranch in 1988 and lived there more than 15 years. But in the run up to his untimely death in 2009, Jackson fell into financial trouble and defaulted on a $24.5 million loan backed by the ranch. Colony swooped in and bought the note for roughly $24 million and put the title into a joint venture it formed with the king of pop.
In February, the New York Post’s Page Six reported that there were at least three bids from private investors for the property, two of which were interested turning Neverland into a “Graceland-like attraction,” while the other wanted to develop a sexual assault rehab for children.
The Business Times was not able to verify these reports. Caroline Luz, a spokeswoman for Colony, wouldn’t confirm or deny the previous offers and said the company isn’t willing to comment on the listing.
Luz also declined to answer whether or not the Jackson estate is interested in trying to buy the property back.
Sotheby’s Perkins, who also represents the $125 million-priced Rancho San Carlos mega estate and was involved in the $110 million sale of Rancho El Cojo on Jalama Road, said she is absolutely convinced there are multiple buyers out there.
MOXI GETS SUPPORT
Curvature, formerly known as Network Hardware Resale and headquartered in Santa Barbara, recently donated $250,000 to one of the city’s most anticipated new developments.
MOXI The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, which is taking shape on lower State Street near the La Entrada project, is launching its corporate donor campaign. The gift from Curvature is in addition to a previous contribution of $50,000.
The tech firm’s donation kicks off MOXI’s public portion of the corporate fundraising campaign for the 25,000-square-foot science-focused museum. Scheduled to open late 2016, the museum’s board has already raised $16 million of its $25 million goal, mostly from private donors, including naming benefactors Dick and Noelle Wolf.
The museum hopes that local businesses will support the non-profit, which estimates attendance at 110,000 visitors per year and will be a significant boost to the local economy.
MOXI is small by comparison, but it’s expected to still have a measurable impact on the local economy, according to Steve Hinkley, MOXI CEO.
Curvature sponsored the museum’s “Build It, Test It, Race It” exhibit, which gives visitors a chance to design and build modular cars that can be raced on the museum’s speed track.
• Contact Elijah Brumback at [email protected]