Neverland Ranch, the 2,700-acre abandoned fantasyland built by late King of Pop Michael Jackson, recently went up for auction and bidders have been coming forward with varied visions for its future. Among these proposals are offers to turn the place into a Jackson shrine, à la Elvis' Graceland, and one plan to transform the estate into a sexual assault rehab center for children.
After purchasing the property in 1988, Jackson souped it up with amusements like a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, a train, horse stables, and movie theaters—most of which are gone by now. After the singer's death in 2009, Neverland fell into the hands of real estate investment firm Colony Capital, which has valued the property at $75M and is now fielding buyers' offers.
According to Page Six, the local businessman who proposed turning Neverland into a rehab center offered somewhere around $40M. He envisions having trained therapists treat victims through equine-assisted therapy.
Two bidders, one of whom already has a huge collection of the singer's memorabilia, want to create a Michael Jackson shrine. But one source close to the sale process tells Page Six that's an unlikely outcome, since Jackson's estate executors will have to grant permission to use his likeness. Plus, Neverlands' narrow mountain roads aren't conducive to what could be thousands of visitors a year.
Page Six also reports that California officials have shown interest in turning Neverland into a state park, but are deterred by its steep price. For now, though, the plan that's definitely not happening is one resourceful person's $75M crowd-funding campaign to buy Neverland, and offer "timeshares" to the biggest investors—$485 has been raised to date.
· Neverland Ranch might become a sex-assault rehab for kids [PageSix]
· Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch Will Soon Hit the Market [Curbed National]
· All Michael Jackson coverage [Curbed National]