EB-5 News Archive for March, 2010
A property owner in Wauconda, Washington, has put her house, gas station, store and restaurant up for sale and invited foreign investors and entrepreneurs to take advantage of an expedited route to U.S. residency through the EB-5 visa program.
The house, businesses and several other buildings, which are currently owned by Daphne Fletcher, lie on four acres of land in northern Washington state, the Grand Forks Gazette reports.
Since the recession left her unable to maintain the property she brought three years ago, Fletcher put the estate on eBay for $1.1 million, though her asking price has been reduced to $495,000.
“It’s just a little too much for little old me,” Fletcher told the news source. “You need a big family or someone with business experience.”
Because the property is so close to the Canadian border, Fletcher has advertised that the purchase would qualify as an EB-5 investment.
“That means if it is purchased for $500,000 or more and the buyer hires 10 employees, they qualify for a green card in two years,” she explained.
Of course, any foreign national who meets those requirements is eligible for EB-5 visa status – not just residents of Canada.
A Seattle immigration attorney who has helped Seattle businesses gain more than $100 million in investment from the federal EB-5 visa program, has pitched the idea of using the immigration program to officials in Portland, Oregon.
Henry Liebman, who heads the firm American Life Incorporated, last year spoke with officials at the Portland Development Commission (PDC) to argue for Portland as a candidate for EB-5 investments, the Portland Business Journal reports.
“PDC apparently believes they should be the applicant” Tony Williams, an American Life spokesman, told the news source.
He added, “It seems like it’s always best, though, to partner with a developer who’s going to fly around the world and find investors, someone who knows the business.”
Portland officials have also contacted Greenpath Funding Solutions, an EB-5 specialist that offered to connect the PDC with potential foreign investors.
The commission is looking to develop the new Eastside streetcar route and the Airport Way corridor.
Overall, the program has brought in more than $1.2 billion in investments since 2000, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Ascertaining a dire need to promote entrepreneurship, immigration and economic development in metro Missouri, the St Louis County Economic Council has applied to become eligible for foreign investment under the EB-5 visa program.
Under the federal program, foreign nationals become eligible for a U.S. green card in exchange for an investment of at least $500,000 in an economically distressed area.
Currently, the city of St Louis ranks very low in the activity of startup companies, and just 4 percent of the area’s residents are foreign-born (compared to 12.5 percent in entire U.S.), the St Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Experts have pointed out how attracting more immigrants could help the local economy develop.
“There are so many things we need to do to be growing our economy, and this is one of the easy ones,” said Richard Herman, a Cleveland, Missouri, attorney, told the news source.
He added, “Cities like ours need to have a voice at the national level and sat that attracting immigrants to our towns needs to be a priority.”
A 2006 study commissioned by the National Venture Capital Association found that about one-quarter of public venture-backed companies in the U.S. were founded by immigrants, including Intel, eBay, Yahoo! and Google.
Two brothers who own a brewery in Immokalee, Florida, are intent on using the federal EB-5 visa program (or EB-6 visa, if a recent proposal is passed in Congress), to draw investment and drive the growth of their small business.
Ernest and Curtis Sittenfeld, residents of Naples, Florida, said that attracting foreign investors through the federal immigration program has long been a viable business plan for their company, NaplesNews.com reports.
“While the project is definitely not going to depend on this type of investment, we think there is an opportunity to sustain financial investments relatively quickly, which would help the project, Immokalee and the investors,” Curtis Sittenfeld told the news source.
The brothers, who say they are targeting foreign nationals from Venezuela and Greece, have already spoken with a handful of potential investors.
By investing at least $500,000 in capital (or $1 million in some areas) to a U.S. company, foreign nationals are eligible to receive EB-5 immigration status and be put on track for an expedited process to U.S. residency.
City officials in Portland, Oregon, are looking to use the federal EB-5 visa program to generate millions of dollars in investments to help develop particular areas throughout the city.
The EB-5 visa program offers foreign nationals a quicker route to attaining U.S. residency in exchange for an investment of at least $500,000 in a U.S. business. The idea behind the initiative, is that the country may leverage a high demand for immigration into the U.S. to attain capital that could stimulate local economies.
The Portland Development Commission has been eyeing the immigration initiative as a way to help fund projects in Old Town, Chinatown and along the East Side’s new streetcar line, Portland Business Journal reports.
Portland would not be the first major city in the Pacific Northwest to use the EB-5 visa as an investment opportunity.
To date, Seattle has used the program to raise about $100 million for development initiatives, and an EB-5 regional center in Federal Way, Washington, is proposing to use foreign investments to develop a commercial area that features a 45-story condo-hotel building.
Each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reserves 10,000 U.S. visas for foreign nationals who qualify under EB-5 status.