The Next Big Vegas Attraction: Michael Jackson’s Neverland?


If Michael Jackson’s not going to be buried there, Neverland Ranch may as well relocate to Las Vegas.
Sources tell E! News that the current owner of Neverland has drafted plans to dismantle the King of Pop’s once-adored residence and move it from the outskirts of Santa Barbara, Calif., to Sin City and fashion a Graceland-style tourist attraction.
We hear that Jackson’s estate is “seriously considering” the idea, which is still in its preliminary stages.
But here’s the general idea:
Colony Capital, the investment firm that saved the property from being auctioned off last year, is developing a business plan with Jackson’s estate to transport Neverland’s main house and several other structures to what would have to be a pretty large piece of land near the Vegas Strip.
“The idea is to take physically everything that’s not part of the dirt and reassemble it in Las Vegas,” the source said.
A source with knowledge of the project says that Colony executives are drafting proposals for a museum, theater and, pending approval from the family, a burial plot for Jackson’s body (like the one at Graceland where Elvis Presley was laid to rest) where fans could pay their respects to the fallen star.
Michael G. Dave, a California probate attorney, says that it would only require the blessing of estate executors John McClain and John Branca to get this show on the road.
“It’s their call” if they want to build a for-profit memorial site, Dave said. If an independent company wanted to do so, however, it would need the OK from the executors.
“A well-known person’s name and likeness are intellectual property rights,” Dave said. “They’re property rights that belong to those famous persons. I couldn’t go out and build a big memorial…for Michael Jackson. Maybe I could do it if I weren’t charging money, but once I got into that commercial area, I’d be violating the estate and trust.”
We feel Jackson might have appreciated not only the spectacle, but also the sheer cost involved in such an undertaking.
It would cost at least tens of millions of dollars to reimagine Neverland in Vegas, sources tell E! News. But one insider says that Colony Capital founder Thomas Barrack has met with community resistance when it comes to moving forward with development on the current Neverland site, and that moving the whole kit and caboodle to Vegas could end up being the more profitable venture.
A Colony spokesman opted not to comment. A rep for the Jackson family tells E!: “Since it’s hypothetical and our firm represents [Katherine Jackson], we can not answer.”
Meanwhile, insiders say that Jackson’s estate is also in talks with concert promoter AEG Live—which had been organizing Jackson’s London comeback—to set up a tribute show at a major hotel-casino, such as Cirque du Soleil did with the Beatles-themed LOVE at the Mirage.
A rep for AEG declined to comment, but executives have publicly stated that they were interested in taking the momentum from the 50 sold-out Jackson concerts that never took place and putting it toward a tribute to the fallen pop star.
When he lived in Vegas between 2006 and 2007, Jackson had also worked with businessman Jack Wishna on the idea of a LOVE-style spectacle featuring his music.




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