Peter Quillin no longer lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, but his hometown still lives in him.
Although Quillin, his wife and their young son reside in Brooklyn, New York, where he will fight Andy Lee at Barclays Center on April 11, he still has family in Grand Rapids, including his mother.
So while Quillin is emotionally invested in Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in the state, he also plans to become more and more financially invested, as well.
“I’m going to rebuild the city, man,” Quillin says, his ambitions as big as his punches. “I want to buy as many properties as I can. I already started with one. I’ve got 13 more to go. Hopefully, after the (Lee) fight, that 13 will be reached.”
While the rebound of the auto industry has resulted in steady economic growth for Grand Rapids in recent years, from 2000-10, the city’s poverty rate grew more quickly than any other metropolitan area, according to a 2013 report from nonprofit think tank the Brookings Institution.
Quillin sees Grand Rapids’ fiscal rough patch as an opportunity to help rebuild the community he came from.
“I have Kid Chocolate Development, where I develop houses,” he explains, “and I also have Kid Chocolate Properties, where I own houses.”
Quillin also wants to open a gym at some point to “try to build good fighters and give people the inspiration to know that they can get out of Grand Rapids. Create these outlets for them.”
In the meantime, though, he first plans to take care of the woman who long took care of him.
“By the end of the year,” he says with palpable pride, “my mom should be living in a house that I own.”