This article was originally published on RNZ and republished with permission.
Michael Jackson’s famous Neverland Ranch in California finally sold, more than 10 years after the death of the pop star who left the property following his trial on charges of molesting a boy there.
Billionaire investor Ron Burkle, a former friend of the Jackson family, recently purchased a 2,700 acre (1,100 acre) estate, his spokesman said on Thursday.
The Wall Street Journal said the estate, which was renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch several years ago, was selling for $ 22 million (about $ NZ31 million) according to public records. In 2015, the asking price was US $ 100 million and in 2017 it was re-registered to be US $ 67 million.
A Burkle spokesman said entrepreneurs saw investment as a land banking opportunity.
He views the estate from the air while looking at other locations and contacts Tom Barrack, founder of real estate investment firm Colony Capital LLC, to seal the sale.
The farm was not on the market at the time.
Jackson, who died of an overdose of the drug Propofol in 2009 at the age of 50, bought the property in Los Olivos, about 193 km north of Los Angeles, in 1988 for US $ 19.5 million.
After financial problems, in 2008 he transferred the title to Colony Capital LLC, which held the loan for the property.
Neverland, named after the story of “Peter Pan” about a boy who refuses to grow up, has become Jackson’s favorite resting place and is famous for featuring zoos, trains and amusement park rides.
It was also where he entertained the children, one of whom filed abuse charges against the singer which resulted in the 2005 trial and Jackson’s acquittal of all charges.
Jackson vowed never to return to Neverland after the trial.
Burkle is the controlling shareholder of Soho House, a private member club that attracts people in the entertainment and media industry and which owns properties in New York, London, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.