Neverland Ranch, is going on the market. Who’ll be the next owner? The list of potential buyers for Neverland got more interesting this week when Mark Blackwell, former SPIN editor, started a GoFundMe campaign to purchase the famed residence of the late Michael Jackson.
Blackwell’s pitch might be tempting. For just $20, fans can “become an honorary Jackson” and snag a t-shrit that says “I Helped Buy Neverland”. For the more pricey $15,000 contributors, they can expect “a private MJ experience”. Blackwell, who would presumably become the official new owner, describes the Neverland experience this way: “We’ll climb trees, lay in bed playing games, drive to Taco Bell wearing surgical masks, who knows WHAT’LL happen?!”
In the event that Blackwell fails to raise the estimated $75 million necessary to purchase Neverland Ranch, he plans to use the money earned through the campaign for “some other worthy cause”.
According to Inquisitr, the 2,600 acre Neverland Ranch boasts a 7 bedroom mock Tudor mansion. Colony Capital, the current owners, purchased a controlling stake in the property in 2008, just prior to Jackson’s death. In 2008, Neverland, which features 22 buildings, including guest homes, apartments, and a movie theater, went for $23 million. In the years since Jackson’s death, Neverland has lost some of it’s more eccentric features. A private amusement park for which the property was well known, was removed in 2013 as part of renovations guided by Jackson’s children.
Why wait six years to sell Neverland? Now may actually be the best time.
With the economy slowly rebounding and the well received release of the most recent posthumous album, Xscape, Jackson’s celebrity is higher now than it had been following the star’s death
There were reportedly plans to turn Neverland into a tourist attraction, a place of pilgrimage for Jackson fans in the way Graceland has become the same for fans of Elvis Presley. In 2009, Businessweek reported that those plans weren’t likely to solidify. Reasons given were zoning (Neverland is zoned for agriculture, not commercial use), reluctance from residents of the San Ynez Valley to allow tourism in the area, and a lack of local resources including hospitals or airports.
Neverland Ranch’s reputation may yet take some tarnish. Recently, 36-year-old James Safechuck filed a lawsuit against the Jackson estate. According to TMZ, Safechuck claims that the late Jackson repeatedly molested him over a period of four years, from ages 10 to 14. Jackson attorneys say that the claims contradict previous sworn testimony in which Safechuck said he was never touched inappropriately by Michael Jackson. According to Radaronline, at least some of the alleged abuse took place at Neverland Ranch.
No word on if the new allegations will delay the sale of Neverland Ranch or alter the asking price.