Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Michael Jackson Facing Foreclosure: What’s Next For Neverland Ranch?

That’s right, not even Michael Jackson, “The King of Pop,” can distance himself from the foreclosure problems facing the country. According to the Associated Press, Michael Jackson will need to come up with $24.5 million by March 19 in order to save his famed Neverland Ranch from being auctioned off.

The starting bid amount will likely exceed $24.5 million, but considering the fame of Neverland ranch and the location outside Santa Barbara California, it might not be a bad investment. I imagine that this ranch could be turned into quite the tourist draw. Michael Jackson is still probably the biggest single name in music worldwide, and people will want to see his famed ranch. Just think of the tourist draw that Graceland has become. Not only is Michael Jackson a bigger name than Elvis, but the property is much more interesting than Graceland. People will pay money to see Neverland. Of that I’m sure. Even people who aren’t Michael Jackson fans would probably still pay to see the ranch just out of curiosity.

The main buildings could be turned into a museum, and much of the rest of the ranch subdivided and sold off, turned into a vineyard (Neverland winery could be an interesting novelty...), or any number of things depending on the investor’s preferences. Seeing as homes in that region, on just a couple acres, are going for $1-5 million a piece, and Neverland ranch is on somewhere between 2,500-2,900 acres (depending on which source you believe), there is substantial value in the land for sure.

That being said I’m not sure if the property will even make it to auction. It is likely that Jackson will figure some way out of this problem, but it is interesting to consider. Who knows? Maybe the next time that I’m in Santa Barbara, I’ll be able to take a full access tour of Neverland ranch, and maybe even a ride on Michael Jackson’s Ferris Wheel.

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