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Prince's Paisley Park to open, but only for some
This file photo taken on April 21, 2016 shows The entrance to the Paisley Park residential compound of music legend Prince in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mark Ralston / AFP.

by Jared Goyette

MINNEAPOLIS (AFP).- Prince's closely-guarded studio complex in Minnesota has delayed plans to welcome legions of fans, with officials granting only temporary permits on three dates starting Thursday.

The late "Purple Rain" star's state-of-the-art studio was set to open with tours this week, but local officials in Chanhassen, a suburb of Minneapolis, delayed their approval for turning the complex into a museum. 

In a meeting that lasted more than three hours on Tuesday, some local residents said they were concerned that the estimated 600,000 fans expected to visit the studio-turned-museum each year would create traffic jams and congestion in the town of 24,000.

"That's something we need to talk about as a community: do we want to be a tourist town?" said Chanhassen City Councilwoman Bethany Tjornhom.

Members of the council asked the Bremer Trust, which controls Paisley Park on behalf of Prince's estate, to come up with a more detailed plan for addressing the impact of a major tourism draw. 

The trust announced a compromise with the council for fans who had been looking forward to entering the complex this week.

The studio will now open on Thursday, Saturday and the following Friday, October 14.

Ticket-holders scheduled for tours on dates up to October 15 were encouraged to come on the three available days instead, or receive a refund.

"Paisley Park is also in discussions with the Mall of America to host an exhibition of Prince artifacts and wardrobe, which we anticipate opening by early next week.  This exhibition will be available to all ticket holders," a statement said, referring to the large shopping complex near Minneapolis.

Prince's studio has held a mythical status for fans, who have had only limited access to parts of it during the pop legend's life. A lucky few hundred are said to have toured it.

Prince died on April 21 from an overdose of painkillers. He was 57.

'Our generation's Graceland'
The changes this week are sure to frustrate fans who made travel arrangements and bought $40 or $100 tickets for tours.

"It's our generation's Graceland," said fan Sabrina Miller, 48, of Chicago, speaking of Elvis Presley's expansive estate in Memphis, Tennessee. She plans on being one of the lucky ones making it inside Paisley Park.

"For me, it will be a way for me to once again pay my respects to him," she said.

For Minneapolis-area locals, Paisley Park has also been the subject of great speculation and folklore -- among them, that Prince kept live doves in the atrium of the complex.

At the Depot, a Minneapolis bar attached to the club where much of Prince's famed "Purple Rain" movie was filmed, bartender Steve Beavers had been looking forward to entering the complex to learn if some of that folklore was true. Now, he's not sure he will get in.

"Like with everything else it seems with Prince, everything is always very tentative," he said. "That was part of his mystique."

The 55,000-square-foot (5,100-square-meter) complex will open one week before fans descend on Prince's Minnesota hometown for a memorial tribute concert.

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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