MACEDON — Could Macedon, population 8,985, be the music and art capital of upstate New York?
The answer could be yes if singer Alicia Keys and her husband, music producer and artist Kasseem Dean — also known as Swizz Beatz — buy the vacant Jindal Films industrial building at 792 Route 31.
Representatives of the couple made a proposal for the plan — complete with conversion of the building, formerly home to ExxonMobil’s Film Division — at the Aug. 8 Macedon Town Board meeting. More details will be presented at the Aug. 19 town Planning Board meeting.
Keys and Dean have formed The Dean Collection Music & Art Campus, devoted to giving artists a break in a challenging art market.
According to attorney Linda Shaw of Rochester, the proposed reuse of the Jindal property will include:
• Main building classroom office reuse. The proposed reuse of the existing main structure would have it turned into classrooms, a cafeteria and offices. The existing structure would be kept intact, but renovated.
Shaw said the proposed reuse “is a new concept to educate musicians and artists about the business side of the music and art industry and have a campus and creative atmosphere for learning and expanding opportunities.”
• The barn building on the site would be an art exhibit hall. Keys and Dean have a large personal art collection, including photographs by famous photographer Gordon Parks and other artists. The collection needs a permanent home and the plans call for the pole barn structure to be renovated into an art museum open for public viewing of the collection.
• The factory building. Formerly used as an industrial research and development facility, it would be renovated into a performance center, large gym and training area for artists and musicians.
“This is the short-term plan for reuse of the existing structures under the current zoning,” Shaw said. “The long term use of the property, which will likely require rezoning portions of the 100-acre property to accommodate mixed uses, is to build dorms and a place for people to live while they are attending or teaching at the school.”
Macedon Supervisor Sandy Pagano could not be reached for comment.
Keys was born in New York City in 1981 and is a musician, singer, songwriter and classically trained pianist. She was composing songs by age 12 and was signed by Columbia records when she was 15. She later signed with Arista Records and released her debut album in 2001.
She has won 15 Grammy awards, 17 NAACP Image awards, 12 ASCAP awards and awards from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the National Music Publishers Association. She has sold more than 65 million records worldwide. She was named the R&B artist of the decade for the 2000s by Billboard magazine.
Keys also is acclaimed for her humanitarianism, philanthropy and activism.
Dean and Keys were married in 2010 and have two children. Dean was born in 1978 in New York and is well known in the hip-hop industry as a singer and producer. He also is well-known in the art world. He later expanded into fashion design, art collecting and other enterprises.
The buildings once served as headquarters for ExxonMobil’s Film Division. Jindal Films announced in late 2016 that it was selling the 111-acre complex for $6.3 million. Jindal obtained the complex after purchasing ExxonMobil Chemical Co.’s global biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film operation in 2014. After the purchase, the India-based company made the Macedon plant its research and development center and national headquarters.
However, in December 2015, Jindal officials announced that the Macedon operations were moving to LaGrange, Georgia. The site has nearly 200,000 square feet available in three buildings. The research center has an elevator and a cafeteria. The property was assessed at $7.8 million in 2016.
Property listing is being handled by Pyramid Brokerage Co. in Perinton and the sale price is listed as $2.5 million.