30 May Commercial Real Estate Seeks EB-5 Visa Funding
May 30, 2012
Commercial real estate development is increasingly turning to EB-5 Visa programs and their investors to spearhead projects in Florida, and across the nation, due to the continued lack of traditional funding. While national reports find an increase in consumer optimism, in both commercial and residential sectors, the first signs of economic regrowth are not enough for traditional investors to begin new projects. These occurrences, consumer confidence and the increase in EB-5 applications and funding, will play a pivotal role in re-energizing the American economy.
Known as the Immigrant Investor Program, or the EB-5 Visa, the system was initiated in 1990 by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Department of Homeland Security to boost the economy. Under the program, foreign investors contribute either $1 million or $500,000 toward US projects that provide jobs and increase economic stability for the areas in which built. As conventional construction financing from banks and other lenders has decreased, and remains low, developers have begun to explore and enjoy other options to fund new development, including the EB-5 Visa program.
In the past 20 years the EB-5 Visa program has created 65,000 jobs through $3.1 billion in investments. As the program continues to grow, its benefits continue to increase, and prospectors foresee an increase in foreign investors leading to profitable and job-creating projects throughout the US. While the program has gone underutilized in the past, with some 10,000 EB-5 Visas available annually, international interest in the program has increased dramatically over the past two years. In March 2012, the USCIS reported that 2,364 EB-5 Visas were issued by the time of report release in the first quarter of 2012 – meaning if the program accepts investors at the same rate throughout the year, it will come close to meeting its 10,000 limit.
According to federal mandates, all EB-5 investors can invest in US commercial enterprises through a variety of capital structures, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, holding companies, joint ventures, corporations, business trusts, regional centers and/or other privately owned entities. Developers are beginning to utilize EB-5 Visas for a variety of projects, including office buildings to hotels, condos and mixed-use developments, such as the Harbourside Place project, a Florida Regional Center endeavor.
Florida Regional Center has been working closely with EB-5 Visa and other investors, contractors and the Town of Jupiter to create the Intracoastal community development project Harbourside Place. The mixed-use development will include restaurant and eatery space, office suites, hotel accommodations, marina slips, retail areas and an entertainment plaza with an outdoor theater. The project is expected to create a substantial economic stimulus for the area and create over 2,400 jobs through the next three years.
Florida Regional Center was established as an agent of the 1990 Congress-approved EB-5 Regional Center Program. Based in Palm Beach Gardens and representing development projects in the South Florida area, Florida Regional center works with foreign investors to obtain EB-5 Visas and permenant residency in exchange for community-developing and job-creating investments. Other projects Florida Regional Center is using EB-5 Visa funding for include the Water Pointe Project, ESI Jupiter Technology Park Project and the Tequesta Village Center project.
For more information on EB-5 Visas and the EB-5 Visa Program, to learn about Florida Regional Center or to speak with a representative from Florida Regional Center, visit www.visaeb-5.com.