Neverland Ranch
Neverland Valley Ranch (formerly the Sycamore Valley Ranch) is a developed property in Santa Barbara County, California, most famous for being a home of American entertainer Michael Jackson from 1988 to 2005. Jackson named the property after Neverland, the fantasy island in the story of Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up. The ranch is located about five miles (8 km) north of unincorporated Los Olivos, and about eight miles (13 km) north of the town of Santa Ynez. Midland, a college prep boarding school, is the southerly neighbor and also separates it from the Los Padres National Forest just east of the ranch; the Chamberlin Ranch is to the west, and the rugged La Laguna Ranch, where the Zaca Fire began, is to the north. The Santa Barbara County Assessor's office says the ranch is approximately 3000 acres (1214 hectares). It is currently owned by the Sycamore Valley Ranch Company, LLC.

Michael Jackson residence
Jackson purchased the property from golf course entrepreneur William Bone in 1988 for a sum variously reported to be $16.5 to $30 million. It was Jackson's home and private amusement park and contained, among other things, a floral clock, numerous statues of children, and a petting zoo. The amusement park included two railroads: one 36" gauge with a steam locomotive (Crown 4-4-0, built 1973, with two coaches) and the other a 24-inch gauge amusement train ride-type); and a Ferris wheel, Carousel, Zipper, Octopus, Pirate Ship, Wave Swinger, Super Slide, dragon wagon kiddie roller coaster and bumper cars. Michael Jackson was also an avid art collector. According to Yves Gautier in the book, “Michael Jackson, Backdoor to Neverland”: “ Though few know about it, Michael Jackson is a voracious reader and there is a 10,000-volume library in the Neverland Ranch, that focuses on art, psychology and poetry.” Jackson said in 2005 that he would not return to the property, saying he no longer considered the ranch a home, feeling the 70 police officers had "violated" it in their searches given they did not have search warrant. In 2006, the facilities were closed and most of the staff were dismissed, with a spokesperson stating that this was the reflection of the fact that Jackson no longer lived there. Jackson sold this property in November of 2008 to Sycamore Valley Ranch Inc, a real estate company that he owned in part.

Financial status
Foreclosure proceedings commenced against Neverland Ranch on October 22, 2007. However, a spokesperson for Jackson said that the loan was merely being refinanced. On February 25, 2008, Jackson received word from Financial Title Company, the trustee, that unless he paid off $24,525,906.61 by March 19, a public auction would go forward of the land, buildings, and other items such as the rides, trains, and art. On March 13, 2008, Jackson's lawyer L. Londell McMillan announced that a private agreement had been reached with the private investment group, Fortress Investment, to save Jackson's ownership of the ranch. Before the agreement, Jackson owed three months' arrears on the property. McMillan did not reveal the details of the deal. On May 12, 2008, a foreclosure auction for the ranch was canceled after an investment company, Colony Capital LLC, purchased the loan, which was in default. In a press release, Jackson stated, "I am pleased with recent developments involving Neverland Ranch and I am in discussions with Colony and Tom Barrack with regard to the Ranch and other matters that would allow me to focus on the future." On November 10, 2008, Jackson transferred the title to Sycamore Valley Ranch Company, LLC, and neighbors reported immediate activity on the property, including the amusement rides being trucked along the highway. Jackson still owned an unknown stake in the property, since Sycamore Valley Ranch was a joint venture between Jackson (represented by McMillan) and an affiliate of Colony Capital LLC (an investment company run by billionaire Tom Barrack). The Santa Barbara County Assessor's Office stated Jackson sold an unknown proportion of his property rights for $35 million. Kyle Forsyth, Colony's project manager, describes the estate's Tudor-style buildings and savannah-like grasslands as "English country manor meets Kenya." Eventually, Colony hopes to sell the ranch, located in Santa Barbara County, in its entirety. Subdividing it, says Mr. Forsyth, "would destroy it." Since 2009, the Neverland Ranch rides Balloon Samba, Jeeps, Wave Swinger and Dinos have been featured attractions at the California State Fair.

Death of Michael Jackson
Following Jackson's death, press reports during June 28”“29, 2009 claimed that his family intended to bury him at the Neverland Ranch, eventually turning it into a place of pilgrimage for his fans, similar to how Graceland has become a destination for fans of Elvis Presley. However, the singer's father Joseph Jackson later denied the reports. Construction equipment and gardeners entered the grounds on July 1, prompting speculation that preparations were being made for something related to Jackson's death, but local officials stated that a burial there would not be lawful. Jackson's 2002 will gives his entire estate to a family trust. The ranch was the setting for two media appearances on July 2, 2009. Jermaine Jackson took The Today Show's Matt Lauer on a tour of the main house, and he was interviewed on the grounds of the house by Larry King for his show. In July 2010, California Assemblyman Mike Davis floated the idea of California acquiring the property and running it as a state park. This idea has been introduced before, as such a park could attract thousands of Jackson fans from around the world, bringing in revenue for the state and local area. However, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had called for the closure of many state parks due to lack of funding, and local residents oppose the idea because of the traffic congestion and other problems that a major tourist attraction would bring to this rural area. In October 2010, reports came out that Jackson's two eldest children Prince and Paris, intended to buy the property.


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