Michael Jackson's opulent, 2,700-acre estate Neverland Ranch will be hitting the market in the near future. Forbes reports that the Los Olivos, California property is being sold by the real estate investment firm Colony Capital, which owns equity in Neverland after an agreement with Jackson that took effect in 2008. "We are frustrated, bitterly disappointed and saddened that it has come to this," a rep for Jackson's estate told Forbes. "Sadly, Michael lost control of Neverland during his life as a result of advice from a former manager."
The Jackson estate said it considered many options with regard to Neverland, including buying it back, but the executors determined that the big picture costs – such as the millions required for upkeep on the estate – ultimately made the proposal untenable. The executors said it is their duty "to be fiscally responsible in protecting and growing the assets of the Estate for Michael’s children." (Incidentally, Forbes says the estate has brought in more than $750 million since Jackson's death in 2009, before taxes and expenses.)
The deal Jackson struck with Colony Capital said that the firm would manage Neverland as a joint venture with the pop star. With any money Colony put into Neverland, the firm's share of equity increased while Jackson's decreased. Forbes suggests that Colony has put more than $50 million into Neverland.
Jackson bought Neverland in 1988 from golf course entrepreneur William Bone, according to USA Today. As of 2003, the estate contained 22 buildings, including guesthouses, ranch-hand apartments, stables, a movie theater and theme park. At the time, its value was estimated at $30 million.
Reports surfaced in late 2007 that Jackson stood to lose Neverland due to debt. By the end of the year, it looked as though Jackson would have to sell off more than 2,000 items from Neverland to pay his debts, but he stopped the auction by April of 2009. In June of that year, following Jackson's death, Neverland served as the site of a public viewing of the singer's body.