The Minnesota Attorney General's Office said Tuesday that a gas station and liquor store at a troubled north Minneapolis intersection are considered nuisance properties and subject to being sued in connection with chronic and sometimes violent crime at their businesses.

An investigation of Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station "determined that illegal public nuisances are ongoing at the properties," Attorney General Keith Ellison's office said in a statement.

The attorneys for Hennepin County and Minneapolis assisted in the investigation, Ellison's office said.

The two businesses at the corner of West Broadway and N. Lyndale avenues were given 30 days to counter the nuisance behavior or reach an agreement with the state, county and city on how to proceed. Otherwise, they will be sued.

A potential lawsuit could seek a temporary or permanent injunction, or among other actions, to close all or a portion of the businesses for one year.

The intersection between the two businesses has long resembled an open-air drug bazaar, where dealers crowd a parking lot and offer drugs to passing motorists. The apparent tipping point for community members came Sept. 8 when four people were wounded in a drive-by shooting.

The attorney general's written notices documented so far this year 14 instances at Merwin Liquors and 22 at Winner Gas Station of shots fired, people injured, weapons possession, and drug dealing and possession. These include at least three large-scale shootings in September.

"Creating safe communities means using all the civil and criminal tools of the law to keep people safe from violence," Ellison said in a statement.

"I look forward to working constructively with these businesses as they abate these conditions, so neighbors can thrive and feel safe wherever they go, as everyone in every neighborhood has a right to."

Merwin Liquors Vice President Cindy Tapper said late Tuesday afternoon that she disagrees with the Attorney General Office's warning of legal action against her business. She said that since the community nonprofit We Push for Peace took over the store's operations Sept. 12, "our parking lot has been completely silent."

Tapper said a senior city official told Merwin ownership that "we have flipped a switch" when it comes to ridding the property of crime, and the business' strategy could be a model for other businesses in the city struggling with similar problems.

Erik Hansen, director of economic development for Minneapolis, confirmed Tapper's account. Hansen said he has driven past the liquor store many times since We Push for Peace stepped in, and "we saw a dramatic change.

"There's nothing going on," he said. "There is not that concentration of [troubling behavior] right now."

However, Hansen, cautioned, "a temporary fix is not a permanent one," given that the city has been working for the past four years to identify why this corner has become a magnet for illicit drugs, prostitution and gun violence.

For the past month, the Star Tribune has yet to reach anyone with Winner Gas Station for their response to how government agencies are taking on the unwanted activity associated with their business.