Local Current Blog

Prince bought the ‘Purple Rain’ house – and much more Minnesota property

The 'Purple Rain' house in Minneapolis, 2016 (Jay Gabler/MPR)

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.

Paisley Park memorial

Paisley Park

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.

Paisley Park fans

Industrial building

8020 Park Pl., Chanhassen

Prince warehouse

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 childhood home

Prince also owned this modest house where he lived, as a child 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

Prince Kiowa property

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 Controversy1999, 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

Prince Galpin gatehouse

Prince Galpin land

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

Prince Eden Prairie property

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.”

House

8016 Dakota Ave., Chanhassen

Prince Chanhassen house

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.

Commercial building

99 Lake Dr. E., Chanhassen

Prince commercial building

This building has formerly housed businesses including a chiropractor and an interior design company. It now seems to be closed.

House

115 King Creek Rd., Golden Valley

Prince Golden Valley house

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.

  • Horst Cents

    Based on the number of properties he owned that were used by family and friends, he seems to have been a generous person.

    • Vanessa Hawes

      Very Generous Indeed! Such a Great Loss & he made sure he took Good care of his Familia! So surreal still just can’t believe a world without The Music Genius of Prince!

      • geehwiz44

        Did he allow Tyka and her children, husband to live in one of those homes? I thought not, because of her former drug abuse and prostitution. She said she needed food for her children. Also, she was living in Texas until recently?

        • Lisa

          The article said she lived in the childhood home.

  • Fyodor Pavlovich

    I don’t know why looking at this makes me sad..

    • mamathellama

      I know, right? ? I guess just more “proof” in black and white that he’s really gone much too soon. He was “larger than life” and such a fixture in Mpls and the surrounding communities for 57+ years. Losing him has left an equally large feeling of emptiness in the hearts and minds of the legions of fans who loved and supported him unconditionally. He was a gift. We were beyond fortunate that he generously shared himself with us both locally and around the world.

      • Phyllis S.

        Yeah my heart is empty but yet so heavy. I can’t seem to shake this strange feeling that he’s not really gone. He may be gone from our general population. Which unfortunately is almost the same as passing on, because there’s a 99.9% chance we’ll never physically see him again. But still, my gut is telling me otherwise. I don’t think Prince is actually gone. Yes, I know his music & spirit will live on & I’m grateful for all of that. But that’s not what I mean. I’m saying that, I don’t think he’s dead (I hate that word). Something is fishy about the quickie cremation, no will, drug abuse, drug overdose, & all coakamamy bull crap stories the media is putting out. And what makes it so bad, most of you guys believe this stuff. Anyway, whatever ACTUALLY happened to our sweet Prince may never come to light. I can’t prove anything, therfore I will try to move on & enjoy his phenomenal music, concerts, & videos. And pray that they open Paisley Park up for tours to keep his memory alive…

        • Lomagurl Andunothis

          Thank u!!!!

        • Harmony Sapphire

          I don’t believe he is dead either. I can’t prove nothing either. I keep putting my # out there on the internet hoping he might see it & remember me from 2006. I can keep his alleged death a secret. I only wish to spend my life with him. I wish I knew where he was really. I had my chance & blew it unintentionally. He gave me his address & everything. I didn’t know who he was until he was reported as dead. I lost the will to even live now. I can’t get a job anyways. It’s hard to breathe.

          • Phyllis S.

            Hi Harmony. It’s good to know I’m not the only person thinking & feeling this way about his so called “accidental death”..If I had the resources, I would definitely get to the bottom of this big mess they’re calling the truth… But here’s the thing Harmony, even though we’re feeling so passionate about our sweet Prince, we cannot give up on our own lives. Until or if we find out more about the truth, let’s enjoy his music like he’d want us to. Let’s Party Up like it was 1999 while dancing in the Purple Rain. Be blessed purple friend & may you live to see the dawn…

          • Harmony Sapphire

            I listen to his music everyday all day, his movies ,& his interviews. I haven’t been able to get a job for a year & I never had a life before anyways.

  • kco0l;s ChocolateBox

    I wonder is the house that he recently put on the market where Larry Graham and his family were living. I know he bought him a house there years ago so he can be closer to him. They use to be so close up until a few years before his death.

    It’s good to know Prince took good care of his family. Also that he was still wealthy and living pretty good before his death.

    I always knew he was living in Paisley Park. Of course no one would believe me. I will always yearn for him the rest of my life. He was such big part of it. His death leaves an emptiness in me that’s unbearable.

    • This is your Mom

      why do you say he was close to LG until recently? I wasn’t aware of any problems between them/JW.

      • kco0l;s ChocolateBox

        Well Prince kind of had Larry around a lot for a while publicly. Then he started opening his sprawling Paisley Park estate to a more younger generation to mentor them more. It seem like to me he was distancing himself from him publicly. I know he got a tremendous amount of negativity from his fans blaming Larry for converting him to the JW faith. Me personally. I never had a problem with him.

    • Tony Wilson

      Feel the exact way, still in disbelief and find it hard to listen 2 some of his music.

      • kco0l;s ChocolateBox

        I’ve only just started back listening to it myself. By his music being the soundtrack to my life. It makes it extremely difficult for me. Especially since a lot of his songs are biographically related to his untimely death.

  • Laurent Calhoun

    Hi, I am a long time Prince admirer from Paris, France and i did a survey on my own website (in french language only, sorry) concerning the places Prince used to live. That might add a little information from here :
    http://fr.calhounsquare.wikia.com/wiki/Les_maisons

  • Teri Anderson

    He lifted everyone up as he went through life. He was a blessing to those who knew him. I wish my family was the same way.