Bubbles the chimp is long gone. So are the amusement rides and zoo animals. But the Peter Pan-inspired tudor house and sprawling, 2,600-acre property that make up Michael Jackson's former Neverland Ranch are still in tact, and have been restored and readied for potential sale.
That's according to Colony Capital, the real estate investment agency that bailed out Jackson when he defaulted on the property a year before his death. A representative at the firm told Bloomberg that the ranch, located about 150 miles north of Los Angeles in Los Olivos, has been returned to its former glory.
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"We've really just been custodians of an irreplaceable estate and are proud to say we've restored it to the original elegance Michael first envisioned," Thomas Barrack Jr. said in an email. "We are now considering putting it up for sale."
Colony has yet to place a price tag on the property, which Jackson purchased in 1988 for $19.5 million and turned into a fantasy home complete with carnival rides and other over-the-top features. The "King of Pop" lived there for nearly two decades until he essentially abandoned it in the wake of his 2005 acquittal on charges he molested children at the ranch. Colony Capital took control after purchasing a $23.5 million note on the ranch in 2008, during a financially challenging period for Jackson. He died a year later.
Potential buyers beware: Neverland is not a development opportunity because the property is zoned for agriculture. It would require approval to be subdivided or turned into a Graceland-like attraction for Jackson fans. "It's gotta be a crazy Michael Jackson fan who wants to own this," said anchor Scarlet Fu.
Whoever buys the ranch will own the setting of several infamous pop culture events, including the 1991 wedding of Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky, as well as Jackson's 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, which was seen by 90 million viewers. The new owner will also be able to walk the same paths that Jackson did with his beloved chimpanzee, Bubbles, who has since retired to Florida.
So what will it take to close on Neverland? The sky's the limit, most likely. A nearby 8-bedroom ranch covering only 250 acres is on the market for over $21 million.