The Minneapolis parking lot made famous by Prince and adjacent to the notable musical score on the Schmitt Music building has been sold to Houston-based Hines and is expected to eventually become a high-rise office building.

According to property records, the $8.4 million sale involves two parcels on a 0.8-acre site in the heart of downtown.

Currently used as parking lots, the site sits behind the Young-Quinlan building on Nicollet Mall and S. 9th Street, and the three-story "Gaspard de la Nuit" musical score painted on the former Schmitt Music headquarters building at Marquette Avenue and S. 10th Street. Prince posed in front of the parking lot's famed musical score in 1977.

Officials at Hines declined to comment for this article. The property seller, Steve Greenberg of Scottsdale, Ariz., did not return phone calls Monday.

Several Minnesota real estate developers familiar with the project told the Star Tribune on Monday that Hines had long been in discussions with the property owner about a possible sale. Plans were drawn up and shared with leasing experts.

The property sale finalized during the last 12 months and now Hines is considering plans for an eventual office tower and a skyway that connects to the AT&T building across Marquette Avenue, city officials and local developers said.

City boosters suspect Hines could sit on the property for a while. Currently, few office workers have returned to working downtown because of the coronavirus. Many newly completed downtown projects — such as the Dayton's Project and Thrivent's new headquarters building — sit largely vacant.

So for now, the parking lot sale "is just buying a really good piece of dirt. There will be a time when it is developable, but that may not be for a while yet," said Steve Cramer, CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council. He added that the sale marks good news for the city.

"It is another data point about the confidence in the long-term future of downtown," said Cramer referring to recent worries about rising crime and the civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. The recent real estate transaction shows that "it's not like folks are saying downtown Minneapolis is never going to come back."

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725