City records show that this industrial building was built in 1945 by Kraus-Anderson. It was located just west of the NSP power station.
Its first owner appears to be the GSW Manufacturing Company, headquartered at 1310 E. Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis. GSW was Warren W. Gray, R.O. Smith, and F.L. Webster. This company manufactured light farm equipment.
In July 1945 the Certificate of Occupancy was issued to the Midwest Metal Manufacturing Co., which did metal stamping. This company occupied at least part of the space until 1956.
There were apparently other tenants in the 10,000 square ft. building, although some could be iterations of the others:
Product Engineering and Development Co. – 1946
R.O. Smith Co. – 1946
Kay Manufacturing Co. – 1947
Minnesota Rubber – 1951
Minnesota Rainbow Rubber Co. – 1956 (possibly part of Minnesota Rubber)
Weaver Rubber Products, Inc., J.J. Weaver, President: 1962 – 1964. In 1958 there was a J.J. Weaver whose company made hair curlers at 6520 Walker Street.
Impact Inc./Jack H. Lockhart owned the building in 1966 and built a frame addition to be used for offices.
Regis Corp. purchased the building in 1973 for $70,753. In 1976 Regis built another addition and demolished a metal shed. Regis moved to 7920 Powell Road in 1980.
In 1983 the Kennel-Aire Company was either the owner or primary tenant of the building. The president of Kennel-Aire was Trygve M. Pederson. Kennel-Aire made “dog equipment products with that pedigree quality.” There was some remodeling done in 1984. According to directory listings, Kennel-Aire was in the building until about 1998.
In 1983 this building was probably the site known as the St. Louis Park Warehouse where Prince rehearsed and recorded. Information online is sketchy, but here are some comments from fan sites and Facebook:
- The St. Louis Park Warehouse was not a professional studio as such, but a converted rehearsal space where Prince occasionally recorded band performances after he stopped using the U-Warehouse on 400 East Lake Street [in] May 1984. The Warehouse, formerly a pet food storage facility with cement walls, was located on 7104 W. Lake St. [incorrect – that was Sport Wheels] in St. Louis Park, MN right off of Highway 7 and was initially rented for band rehearsals and dancing and acting classes for Prince & The Revolution, The Time and Vanity 6.
- While initially rented for rehearsals and acting classes, a few songs were recorded in The Warehouse as well, even when the building wasn’t suited to serve as a studio-recording as it had no separate booth for the console. David Leonard was flown in to help Susan Rogers install Prince’s home equipment in the warehouse to record a “studio” version of “Let’s Go Crazy,” previously [subsequently] recorded at the August 3, 1983, benefit show at First Avenue. A different band take version of “Computer Blue” was also recorded, but remains unreleased.
- I’ve always heard about the infamous warehouse in St Louis Park, and on the Purple Rain anniversary DVD Wendy and Lisa are talking about coming up with the song “Purple Rain” there.
- During high school me and my friends used to hang outside there while Prince and company jammed. Mainly just jamming. Remember– nobody knew “Purple Rain” songs then so honestly I couldn’t tell you what “songs” I heard. Certainly nothing from “1999” which was popular at the time which I would’ve remembered. Yeah that was some pretty cool times. The warehouse was on the walk from school to home. Limos coming and going. Boom. Boom. Boom. Music Jamming. Pretty cool. The “rehearsals” also went on for a long time, sometimes I’d hang around outside, sometimes not. I remember seeing Big Chick, Appolonia (didn’t know who she was at the time), etc.
Karyn International is a modeling agency started by Caryn and Chuck Rosenberg in 1990. The business – always spelled with a “K” – was listed in the directories at the Highway 7 address from 1998 to 2006. Caryn was told that the building had been used by Prince, and she responded, “If it’s all right with Prince, it’s all right with us!” She says it was just one wide open space when they bought it and they created a sound proof room and other improvements for their business. She reports that the City took the building by eminent domain; County records show that it sold for $950,000 in March of 2006. The business – now spelled Caryn International – still exists at 4221 Excelsior Blvd. in St. Louis Park.