We mourned the King of Pop and watched YouTube videos of all our favorite songs….and then we wondered what was going to happen to Neverland, the Santa Barbara playground/estate that became an image of scandal. With the singer’s untimely death, speculation about a memorial park along the lines of Graceland has started.
The real-estate developer that will decide the fate of the property is L.A.-based Colony Capital. Facing financial woes, in November of 2008, the singer transferred the $24.5 million debt on the property (for an unspecified, but presumably majority stake) to Colony Capital, creating a company called Sycamore Valley Ranch–now jointly owned by Colony Capital and Jackson’s estate. Colony Capital’s owner, Thomas Barrack Jr., blogged: “We were pleased to help support his return to public life through our acquisition of Neverland Ranch…Of course, Neverland itself is now a mythical sanctuary to Michael and we are doing our best to accommodate the throngs of global press and fans arriving there to express their grief.” A company spokesperson declined to comment about future plans, but said that wreaths have been ordered to drape the gates. –Lydia Lee