by Jay Gabler
July 18, 2016
Last summer, the Minneapolis house that appeared in Purple Rain as the home where Prince's character "the Kid" lived went up for sale. Who bought it? Prince himself, it turns out.
To celebrate Prince's legacy, we're going all-Prince on our Local Current stream of Minnesota music every day through Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, from 11 a.m. to noon. Then, starting at 10 a.m. on Oct. 13, we'll play our entire Prince catalog from A-Z — over 24 hours of Prince. Listen on our website and via the MPR Radio app for iOS and Android devices.
Hennepin County property records list the owner of the 1913 house as NPG Music Publishing — one of Prince's companies, now in care of the Bremer Trust. Photos taken when it was on the market last year indicate that it was, as the listing warned, in serious disrepair. The initial asking price was just $110,000, but Prince paid $117,000 cash for the house. (It wasn't the first time Prince paid above asking price for a property he wanted — see below.)
It's far from the only Minnesota property Prince owned. Public records reveal several more properties owned by Prince's companies in the Twin Cities metro area. During his life, Prince also owned houses — later sold — in locations including Los Angeles and Spain.
Most of Prince's property was in Chanhassen, where he owned over 200 acres, making him one of the city's largest individual landholders. (On multiple occasions in recent years, he came close to losing some of that property due to unpaid property taxes.) Here are some of the properties Prince owned, at the time of his death, in his home state.
7801 Audubon Rd., Chanhassen
Built in 1987, Paisley Park immediately became the signature property associated with Prince. Much of his own music, and music by many other artists, was recorded there. The property's assessed value in 2016 was $7,013,800.
In addition to its massive performance spaces and recording studios, the complex also included an apartment that served as Prince's home for extended periods — including the final days of his life, up until his death at Paisley Park in April. Always a mecca for music fans, Paisley Park now serves as an unofficial public memorial, with a steady flow of crowds continuing to visit to pay tribute.
8020 Park Pl., Chanhassen
This building, near Paisley Park, was the longtime headquarters of the printing company Mail Source Incorporated. Owner Tom Zwickel knew both Prince and the star's father as neighbors, and would allow Paisley Park to use his parking lot as overflow during parties. In 2005, Zwickel decided to move his business to Wisconsin for family-related reasons, and put the building up for sale. It was purchased (at well above the asking price, says Zwickel) by an investment group owned by Prince. It's not known exactly how Prince used this property; most likely, it served as storage.
Prince's childhood home
539 Newton Ave. N., Minneapolis
Prince also owned this modest house where he lived, as a
teenager, with his father.
At the age of seven, Prince wrote his first song here.
Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, listed this as her home address in the petition to appoint a special administrator over her brother's estate. Update: Prince's father actually didn't buy this house until Prince was a teenager, after his parents split up. The house where he actually most likely wrote his first song is located nearby, on 8th Avenue.
Lake Riley house site
9401 Kiowa Trl., Chanhassen
This was the site of a house on Lake Riley where Prince lived — painting it purple, of course — for the first half of the 1980s. The property featured a home studio; among the albums that were in part recorded there were Controversy, 1999, and Sign O' the Times, as well as music released by the Time, Vanity 6, and Apollonia 6. For privacy, Prince also bought the adjoining lot at 9411 Kiowa Trl.
Prince's father lived in the Lake Riley house (with a cockatiel, apparently) for a time after his son moved out. The elder Nelson died in 2001, and the house was torn down in 2003. All that now remains is a gate bearing heart and peace-sign (or something like it) insignia.
Galpin house site
7141 Galpin Blvd., Chanhassen
When Prince sold the Kiowa house, he moved to a large yellow house on a huge, gated swath of land nestled near Lake Lucy and Lake Ann. This house, too, is gone — razed in 2006, with a windmill that once stood near it also gone. All that remains, satellite photos indicate, are a tennis court and a gatehouse. Prince continued to own this land, as well as two houses on the Red Fox Circle cul-de-sac across the street.
The Galpin house also contained a home studio, where portions of Sign O' the Times and The Black Album were recorded. The house gets a shout-out at the beginning of Prince's song "Zannalee," with a mock police officer reporting "a disturbance on Galpin." Footage from inside the Galpin house also appears in a video for a "Gett Off" remix — including a briefly-glimpsed photo of Prince's father.
Eden Prairie lot
map via Hennepin County
This vacant lot in the 8000 block of Aztec Drive, reports the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, was apparently purchased by Prince in the 1980s "with the intent to build Paisley Park there. The City Council turned him down after nearby homeowners raised concerns about the potential noise, according to a reader who owns an adjacent parcel in Eden Prairie."
8016 Dakota Ave., Chanhassen
This house, reported to be an "investment property" that Prince owned for over ten years, went on the market shortly before the star's death — "priced like it's 1999," as the Los Angeles Times puts it, for $335,000. Prince's estate still owns the house, which features a purple living room and might one day be the closest the average fan can come to living in Prince's house.
99 Lake Dr. E., Chanhassen
This building has formerly housed businesses including a chiropractor and an interior design company. It now seems to be closed.
115 King Creek Rd., Golden Valley
This suburban house is where Prince's mother and stepfather lived, according to telephone listings. Both are now deceased.
Andrea Swensson and Bill Catlin contributed reporting to this article. Thanks to Eileen Ferguson for additional information.