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Former Ravens player Trevor Pryce eyes expansion of animation company in East Baltimore – Baltimore Sun

A century or more ago, Baltimore artists created, sketched, and produced beautiful images within the sturdy walls of the Hoen Lithograph Factory on Biddle Street on the east side.

The headquarters of the producer of detailed maps, colorful canning labels and Maryland rye whiskey labels closed 40 years ago and became vacant. Trees grew in its decaying walls. It was a six-alarm fire waiting.

“It was an absolute disaster,” said Trevor Pryce, 46, the former Ravens defensive lineman who leased a sizable portion of the former high-end print shop, redeveloped by Cross Street Partners, for his printing business. live animation, Outlook company.

Pryce, who grew up in Central Florida, attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Clemson University, and played 14 seasons in the NFL. He founded a record label, Outlook Music Company, in 2001 while playing for the Denver Broncos.

He moved to Baltimore permanently, first to Columbia and now to Reisterstown, after his two daughters and son graduated from McDonogh School. He loved the upbringing they received and decided to put down roots here after leaving the NFL.

After visiting 20th Century Fox in 2005, he became fascinated with visual media and computer animation.

He quickly focused his creativity on the Kulipari series, now a Netflix show. And Kulipari is now produced in East Baltimore at Chester and Biddle streets.

“We are becoming the first such company in this part of the world,” Pryce said. “The closest similar operation is PBS Kids in Northern Virginia with its ‘Curious George’.”

His Kulipari, an Australian Outback Aboriginal word for poison, is set in the Amphibilands, an isolated community of tree frogs. Kulipari started out as a Simon & Schuster book and made the jump to an animated series.

His digital action animation was once located on Mosher Street in a Maryland Institute College of Art building in Bolton Hill. He outgrew that space and found his current new space in East Baltimore in a neighborhood that suits Pryce.

“Vacant homes are starting to turn into high-end townhouses,” he said. “My goal is to make it a Burbank. There’s room here.”

Burbank, California is home to the major players in animation.

He now has 62 people on his payroll and plans to expand his operation to other, once moribund, 19th-century structures scattered north of the Johns Hopkins medical campus.

Pryce is joining Cross Street Partners to redevelop another industrial building at 1010 N. Chester St. and hopes to receive funding through the historic tax credits of the state of Maryland.

He sees it as a “major East Coast virtual production studio.”

Cross Street partners call the effort a “transformative redevelopment project that will continue East Baltimore’s ongoing revitalization by repurposing an underutilized warehouse on a devastated urban block into a nexus of opportunity.”

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Pryce sees an expanded studio attracting big film projects to the Baltimore market.

“It’s finally,” he said. “Over time, people from the industry will come to Baltimore.”

He recently showed off his current studio to a group of summer kids from the neighborhood adjacent to his studio.

“Until you see it for yourself, with your own eyes, you don’t really know what we’re doing,” he said. “If you were a kid the same age in Burbank, California, you would know all about it. The industry is there and you would have a cousin or friend working there.

He wants to share his world of creativity and video action with East Baltimore.

“I can make an impact in this city,” he said.

The day these kids saw his artists on their screens – and recognized they were another part of the Kulipari series, one of them said to him, “This is the coolest place in Baltimore .