Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch Languishes on Real Estate Market
Days before HBO's 'Leaving Neverland' shone a light on the pop star's alleged sexual misconduct, brokers slashed the property's price from $69 million to $31 million.
Got a tough listing? It could be worse. Imagine trying to unload Michael Jackson's or Phil Spector's onetime home. That's the reality for several brokers currently selling properties inextricably tied to very public acts of molestation and murder, respectively.
What binds the two is the visibility of the scandals: Both Spector's crime and Jackson's alleged misdeeds ended up as HBO movies. "So many houses in L.A. have a history. All the great ones do," says Hilton & Hyland's Ladd Jackson, who has the listing for Spector's former estate — known as Pyrenees Castle — in Alhambra. The nine-bedroom, 10-bathroom French chateau, which is listed for $5.5 million, is where Lana Clarkson was murdered by the music producer in 2003. "The incident happened 20 years ago. Big deal. I get it," says Jackson. "The house is an amazing piece of history, and, truthfully, the incident was just a momentary event."
Jackson has a point. Los Angeles has never been short on tabloid scandals, and in the last 30 years, some of the most high-profile of those scandals have been inextricably tied to real estate. The O.J. Simpson saga involved both the apartment on Bundy Drive owned by Nicole Brown Simpson — where her body, along with Ron Goldman’s, was found after being brutally murdered — and, not far from there, Simpson’s mansion on Rockingham Avenue, which was razed and rebuilt in 1998 (the condo has sold twice since the murders). The 9,000-square-foot Beverly Hills home on Elm Drive where Lyle and Erik Menendez gunned down their parents in 1989 has also sold several times — three, to be exact — since the brothers’ arrest.
But of the two estates currently on the market, it would seem that Sycamore Valley Ranch in Los Olivos, previously known as Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, has a tougher hill to climb amid new attention on the late pop star's alleged sexual misconduct. The brokers — Compass' Suzanne Perkins and Kyle Forsyth — announced a price cut of $69 million to $31 million days before HBO aired Leaving Neverland, a four-hour documentary that centers on the testimonies of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege that Jackson sexually abused them as children. "The price has a lot to do with these particular properties," says Westside Estate Agency's Johanna Falduto, who in 1992 sold the Cielo Drive house in L.A. where Sharon Tate was murdered by members of the Manson Family 23 years earlier. "If it's a good deal the right buyer might look the other way."
A version of this story first appeared in the March 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.