Michael Jackson purchased the sprawling 2,675-acre Sycamore Valley Ranch property in the Santa Ynez Valley, 2 ½ hours north of Los Angeles from developer William Bone, complete with a fully furnished 13,000 sq. ft. main house and multiple outbuildings, spectacular gardens, and a four-acre lake in 1988.
Making it entirely his own, Michael renamed the property Neverland and created a magical fantasy setting for his home, complete with his own theatre, zoo, a private amusement park, fairgrounds, two railways with a steam locomotive and a grand main station.
Jackson lived in the home as his exclusive private residence from 1988 until 2003 when he decided not to return to the property following a police search, saying that he no longer considered the ranch a home. In 2006, the facilities were closed and most of the staff was dismissed. A spokesman for Neverland at the time stated that this reflected the fact that Michael Jackson no longer lived there.
The former Neverland Valley Ranch is currently part owned by the Michael Jackson Estate after his tragic death in 2009 and an affiliate of Colony Capital, an investment company run by billionaire Tom Barrack.