Actor Wendell Pierce, best known for his role as Detective Bunk Moreland on The Wire, is investing in a $20 million apartment complex in the arts district of Baltimore, he announced during a panel discussion at Columbia University on Saturday. The actor, 49, told Fusion it’s the beginning of a jobs program he intends to expand to other parts of the city.
A portion of the apartments in the building will be offered to Baltimore artists at a discounted rate, Pierce said. Artists living in the building will also have the opportunity to feature their artwork in the building’s galleries. And Baltimore residents will make up a portion of the construction team hired for the apartment project.
“They’re not going to be the entire workforce, but we wanted to put together a jobs program for people from the community,” Pierce said.
Pierce made the announcement alongside three of his former castmates from The Wire: Sonja Sohn, Felicia Pearson, and Jamie Hector. The actors were part of a panel on community activism. Pierce told the crowd it was an appropriate time to make the announcement, given the circumstance of the event.
Sohn and Hector have each started non-profit organizations for inner-city youth. Hector’s organization, Moving Mountains, is a Brooklyn-based theater company that coaches youth from all five boroughs about both the artistic and corporate sides of the industry. Sohn started ReWired for Change, a Baltimore based-organization.
Construction for Pierce’s apartment complex is slated to begin in July, the actor said. The developers are “shooting for the end of 2017” to complete the project, he said. He declined to disclose which other investors he is working with or the development company, but did say that the project is a private venture.
Pierce hopes to continue to create jobs in Baltimore. “We hope to take it into the row houses too,” he told Fusion. “This is a pilot program to make sure that the template is there.”
Collier Meyerson is a reporter at Fusion with a focus on race and politics. She lives in Brooklyn.