27 Mar Florida Regional Center’s EB-5 Project, Harbourside Place, Receives Second Round of I-526 Conditional Green Card Approvals
March 27, 2012
The Florida Regional Center’s EB-5 Project, Harbourside Place, received the second round of I-526 petition approvals from the USCIS post new rules and regulations regarding job creation numbers calculation.
In the past several months, the USCIS has begun to more stringently review the document criteria needed to approve an EB-5 Visa investor’s I-526 petition. The I-526 petition process requires would be EB-5 investors to submit a wealth of information regarding their lawful source of funding of investment, criminal and health background, as well as requiring the Regional Center to submit a substantial amount of documentation on behalf of the investment project relating to the reality and validity of the investment and job creation projections.
In lieu of the more stringent USCIS guidelines surrounding the EB-5 Program, the Florida Regional Center has received its second round of I-526 approvals all post policy memorandum revisions for their Harbourside Place downtown project located in Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida. The development is currently under construction, with the 1st phase completed in March 2012, and is set on the East Coast of Florida by the Atlantic Ocean. The facility will feature an entertainment plaza and outdoor amphitheatre, retail space, restaurants and eateries, office suites, 4-star hotel accommodations with conference space and two marinas. Harbourside Place is projected to create more than 2,400 jobs over the next three years and will provide exceptional economic stimulus for the region.
The EB-5 program has recently come under fire by many individuals for its industry wide standard of the calculation methodology used to analyze job creation projections. Newly hired USCIS economists and business analysts have brought some new insights relating to job creation when petitioners are applying under the “tenant-occupancy” methodology. This prompted the USCIS to begin to look at how these figures were being calculated and what was deemed to be an actual job created, rather than a job relocated or moved. Many Regional Centers are simply funding the construction of projects and then leasing the spaces out to would be tenants and counting the future tenants job creations as their own. The USCIS is deeming this to be an inaccurate calculation of job creation analysis for a project, as the project being constructed was only indirectly creating the opportunity of a job. All of this has resulted in multiple Requests For Evidence (RFE’s) having been issued on behalf of many petitioners and EB-5 projects alike.
The EB-5 Project, Harbourside Place, is unlike many other projects being offered in the market today. While many projects only build to lease spaces in a new building, Harbourside Place, LLC owns 100% of the development. Harbourside Place, LLC will directly operate more than 60% of all the business comprised within the development including the Westin Hotel & Conference Center; thus eliminating the tenant-occupancy issues altogether. Furthermore, because of the projects scope and size, Harbourside has an adequate amount of indirect construction jobs, which is eminent to job creation under the new policy as well.
In conclusion, applying the regulations currently being discussed in USCIS and using a very conservative calculation, the Harbourside Place project will still create a large surplus of jobs, which will ensure the success of our EB-5 investors. We recommend our investors and agencies always solicit advice from the presiding government authority or a “qualified” expert on important legal issues instead of relying on any inaccurate interpretations from individuals.