After Michael Jackson’s passing in June 2009, I wondered aloud in an article what would become of his former Neverland Ranch. Would it turn into a museum? Become an animal sanctuary? Our readers had some thoughts too — with over 190 suggestions!
At the time of his death, Jackson retained only a small portion of ownership of the 2,800 acre ranch; having sold an unknown percentage of the property rights for $35 million. Today, the property is controlled in partnership with the Jackson family by Colony Capital LLC, a Santa Barbara-based private equity firm.
Now comes word that California Assemblyman Mike Davis is interested in studying whether the California Department of Parks and Recreation should take over the Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County. Since CA is cash-strapped, he doubts the State Parks could just purchase the land outright — but a public-private option might be feasible. “I am committed to finding out all the details possible to make this a good proposal,” Davis said.
Of course, this is just talk at the moment — but I have to imagine that California also sees the property as a wonderful way to bring in some much-needed income for the Parks Department; especially in light of recent budget cuts. There’s no denying that Jackson’s international appeal could make the ranch something on par (or greater) in popularity as Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
We’ll see — Davis says that he might introduce a bill or resolution on the matter after lawmakers return from their month-long recess in August.