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Prince’s Paisley Park could open for public tours in October

In this photo from April 21, people stand outside Prince's Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen, Minn.
In this photo from April 21, people stand outside Prince's Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen, Minn. (File photo)

It may not be like Elvis Presley’s Graceland, but Prince’s Paisley Park complex could open as a museum in partnership with the King’s estate on Oct. 6. The opening would be one week before a planned memorial concert at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

“Opening Paisley Park is something that Prince always wanted to do and was actively working on,” Tyka Nelson, Prince’s sister, said in a statement. “Only a few hundred people have had the rare opportunity to tour the estate during his lifetime. Now, fans from around the world will be able to experience Prince’s world for the first time as we open the doors to this incredible place.”

Prince’s estate is partnering with Graceland Holdings LLC, which has been involved with the operation of Graceland, Presley’s home in Memphis, since 1982.

Paisley Park, a 65,000-square-foot complex on just over 9 acres in Chanhassen, opened in 1987 at a cost of $10 million. It contains recording studios and a soundstage that was formerly rented to other artists. Barry Manilow, Steve Miller and the Bee Gees are among the acts who rehearsed in the soundstage; videos, commercials and Prince’s 1990 “Graffiti Bridge” movie were shot in that space, too. The studios were also used by the Replacements, Paula Abdul and others. Prince maintained an apartment in Paisley; it is uncertain whether the living quarters will be part of the tour.

The estate is seeking permission from the city of Chanhassen, Minn., to use Paisley as a museum, an occasional recording studio and a concert venue. No musical events are expected to take place before March 2017.

According to an Aug. 19 proposal to the city, there will be no additional construction for Paisley. But plans call for 40 to 50 more parking spaces to the east end of the current lot. Graceland is providing the initial funds for improvements and operating costs. Onsite lodging could be developed in the future, according to the business plan, though a spokesman said it is premature to discuss details.

The proposal says that 70-minute tours will cost $38.50, with $100 for the VIP tours. Each tour could accommodate up to 30 guests. The plan predicts 1,500 to 2,000 visitors on peak days. The tour is expected to take visitors to recording studios and rehearsal spaces and showcase Prince memorabilia, including his Oscar, Grammys and photos from the various years.

The proposal also says that Paisley Park will be available for special recording sessions and concerts in the soundstage.

Plan preceded death

Prince’s body was found in an elevator at Paisley Park on April 21. He died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl. A criminal investigation is under way.

The museum was in the works before Prince’s death, according to sources who worked at Paisley Park.

Tickets will go on sale at 2 p.m. on Friday for tours starting Oct. 6. For tickets and information, go to OfficialPaisleyPark.com. Tickets must be purchased online; there will be no tickets for sale at Paisley, according to the business proposal. In the Prince tradition, only vegetarian food will be sold at Paisley Park.

Chanhassen got a taste of the allure of a museum in the weeks after Prince’s death, as thousands visited Paisley Park to pay their respects. Those visitors boosted sales at local businesses, said Mayor Denny Laufenburger.

If Paisley Park opens as a museum as announced, it will coincide with an official Prince tribute concert planned by the estate for Oct. 13 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. No details for the concert have been released. Mint Condition is the only act that lists the concert on its official itinerary.

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