Investors Refurbish Michael Jackson’s Estate; No More Orangutans
(Source: Wall Street Journal)
After he was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005, associates say, Michael Jackson vowed he would never return to Neverland.
The 2,600-acre estate, named for a magical place where children never age, has since yielded to reality and time. The amusement-park rides, elephants and orangutans have been hauled away. The two helicopter landing pads are empty. The private railway line stands idle and the ornate “Neverland” gates that framed the driveway are in storage. Bats hang over the doorway to the building that housed Mr. Jackson’s private arcade; guano stains the threshold.
But now the ranch is playing a role in an effort to rehabilitate Mr. Jackson’s finances. Since January, more than 80 workers have been toiling at the ranch as part of a plan by real-estate investment firm Colony Capital LLC to convert the former money pit into a lucrative asset. The company has spent more than $3 million on landscaping and repairs to the property’s electrical and plumbing systems. Soon Colony plans to bring in a small herd of Clydesdales to show visitors some signs of life on the all-but-abandoned estate.
Read Ethan Smith’s full article “Economic Reality Prompts a Makeover at ‘Neverland’” in the Wall Street Journal (June 15, 2009).