In 1988, Ronald and Nancy Reagan were no longer the most famous landlords in Southwest California. Just 32 kilometers from its famous Rancho del Cielo, a celebrity without rival would be installed.
Michael Jackson learned from the recording of the Say Say Say video with Paul McCartney in the Santa Ynez Valley (in Santa Barbara County) that, in this fertile wine-growing land, flanked by Virginia bananas and oak trees, he would His childhood dream came true.
To create a Never Land as real as brick A true reflection of the immense fortune that the highest paid artist in history amassed and that would become his own nightmare until his departure in 2005.
The fatality that accompanied the Neverland ranch for more than a decade, the result of the debts that the king of pop accumulated and the accusations of sexual abuse, seems to come to an end with the sale of the property to the American billionaire Ronald Burke.
The founder of the investment firm Yucaipa Companies , owner among many other companies of the exclusive chain of clubs Soho House , has acquired the most famous private property in the USA ( with permission of Graceland ) at a bargain price, after being put up for sale in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death from a painkiller overdose in 2009.
The deal was closed for $ 22 million (18 million euros), almost a fifth of the original starting price which launched Sotheby’s Realty in 2016.
The absence of buyers and the collapse of its value throughout this time was fueled by the controversy that sparked the premiere of Leaving Neverland (2019), the HBO documentary in which several men relate the alleged sexual abuse they lived with Michael Jackson inside of the complex.
While waiting to know the new future that Burke will have in the hands, a spokesman for his company advanced that it was a land baking operation , an investment in long-term real estate to sell it later .
It is known that the farm will never, ever become a theme park about the life of Michael Jackson, as it did with Elvis Presley’s home . According to Time magazine , the company that owns Neverland that the Indiana singer created with the investor Colony Capital to save his residence from the embargo in 2007 when debts led him to get rid of the rights to the Beatles’ songs specified a clause in your sale.
Interested buyers could not use this land to recreate a museum about the artist’s life and work. And this was confirmed by the property manager, Suzanne Perkins, to the publication: “We are not going to make any tour of the farm.”
A Real Estate Entrepreneur’s Tudor Fantasy According to her memoir, Starting Over (2012), Latoya witnessed her brother’s obsession with this farm known as Sycamore Valley Ranch since he visited it for the first time in 1983.
Paul McCartney invited the singer to spend a few days in this idyllic ranch, then owned by real estate businessman William Bone, just two and a half hours from Los Angeles to complete the recording of the video clip Say, Say, Say in a duet with the ex-Beatles member. “Someday I will be the owner of this property,” says the artist, who wanted to turn it into the real estate version of the home of Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up and who stars in the story by JM Barrie .
But getting hold of the farm required long, far from childish negotiations. The Sycamore Valley Ranch that Jackson fell in love with was the fruit of the personal fantasy of Bone, a long-established developer of golf courses, homes and resorts across the country, who had felt a similar attraction to the farm and built a residence there. fairy tale surrounded by thousands of flowers and gardens for your family. He was not willing to part with her at any cost.
Bone had bought it in 1977 under the name Zaca Laderas , from Robert Easton, the founder of Crocker Bank. Its 1,100-hectare land had served as pasture for livestock, as well as a small factory and several warehouses. As a name, he decided, it would bear that of the most representative trees in the area, the sycamores. The architect Robert Altevers (a benchmark in the luxury villas of California and Dubai) followed to the letter the ten-page document that Bone wrote on what his future home should be like, and which took five years to materialize with the work of artisans from all over the country.
18th century English and French furniture and Persian rugs decorated the interior of William Bone’s mansion. On the right, the main building, in the Tudor style. | ALTERVERS ASSOCIATES.
18th century English and French furniture and Persian rugs decorated the interior of William Bone’s mansion. On the right, the main building, in the Tudor style.
In 1981 the Bone clan moved into this mansion built under the parameters of the Tudor style. The same genre of architecture that was all the rage in England during the 16th century, and which stands out for its rich ornamentation inspired by Gothic buildings, crowded with arches and window moldings. Inside the house, the European reference was accentuated with 18th century English and French furniture. The oriental touch was provided by Chinese porcelains and Persian rugs.
The setting was created by architect and landscaper Thomas A. Stone, a regular on the large plantations of South Carolina. Along with the design of several main buildings, he devised the complex’s dense gardens.
with more than 128,000 floors and a 16,000 square-meter lake – the same volume as that of the Casa de Campo in Madrid which would include two waterfalls and a stone bridge (and to which Michael Jackson would later add a jetty with boats and a swan-shaped ferry).
Michael Jackson even offered him $ 35 million for the entire property, a price well above its value at the time. After negotiations with his lawyers who considered the figure exorbitant, they agreed to the purchase for 17.5 million dollars (14.2 million euros), on the condition that the businessman could visit the ranch once a week from 1988 to 1991. according to account the web of fans the Court of the King of pop , Michael took so secretly purchasing his parents heard the news on television.