After a fall filled with temporary permits and hours of meetings, the Chanhassen City Council on Monday signed off on rezoning Prince’s recording studio and home on Monday, allowing it to permanently operate as a museum.
The move to approve the Paisley Park museum — a tourist destination expected to draw 600,000 visitors a year — followed months of deliberation.
“I think the city was very thoughtful in what they did,” said Joel Weinshanker, the managing partner of Graceland Holdings, which is overseeing Paisley Park.
“Prince’s museum is going to outlive us all.”
The museum opens Friday, and will typically be open Thursday through Sunday. About 12,000 people have visited already.
“We’ve had zero complaints,” Weinshanker said — except that some visitors wanted a longer tour.
Mayor Denny Laufenburger said that he, too, was pleased. “I’m happy for the council, I’m happy for the community, I’m happy for the operator. … [It’s a] big benefit for the community.”
Throughout the process, Council members and residents voiced concern about pedestrian safety, traffic and parking.
In response, the city is requiring an ongoing traffic study and has rerouted buses to make turning into Paisley Park safer. Fans are no longer allowed to leave mementos on Paisley Park’s front fence, which has reduced foot traffic.
Three council members said they felt the process initially was rushed and that details hadn’t been thought out, but noted that the city and applicant had resolved them.
The council tabled the zoning request on Oct. 3, nearly delaying the museum’s Oct. 6 opening. The city granted a three-day temporary permit in the 11th hour to accommodate some of the fans who had already bought museum tickets.
Several council members were barraged with e-mails and calls from fans who had already made travel plans and stood to lose money if the museum didn’t open.
A week later, city officials extended the permit for 12 more days.
About 30 people attended Monday’s meeting. Not all wanted the planned museum to proceed.
“It’s such a rush job, piecing it all together,” said Sheila Claytor of St. Paul. “It’s not even Prince’s style.”
Jeannie Gilding came from England for a VIP tour with friends. “This is a pilgrimage for us,” she said. “I’m delighted.”
Prince died at Paisley Park of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl on April 21. He was 57.
As the museum continues to draw visitors, ongoing litigation continues over who is entitled to his estate.
No will has been found, so Minnesota law governs its distribution, which has been valued at $100 million to $300 million before taxes.
For more information on tours, visit OfficialPaisleyPark.com. Prices range from $38.50 for standard tours to $100 for the VIP tour.