EB-5 regional center helping University of Miami project
The construction of the first building in the University of Miami’s new Life Science and Technology Park is underway and progressing steadily with the help of an EB-5 regional center.
The BirchLEAF Miami 31 Regional Center is working to bring foreign investors into the project, which is being developed by the Maryland-based Wexford Science and Technology firm. BirchLEAF has partnered with Wexford to provide them with a portion of the financing required for the building.
The EB-5 visa program was created in 1990 by the U.S. government to encourage foreign nationals to invest in American businesses and, in turn, stimulate job creation. Typically an investment of $1 million is required and that investment must create, or preserve, 10 jobs. However, some areas of the country are designated as Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) and only a $500,000 investment is needed. BirchLEAF operates within a designated TEA.
Shortly after the creation of the EB-5 visa program, the government created a network of regional centers, which help to manage investments from foreign nationals. These regional centers can be private entrepreneurs, corporations or government agencies.
BirchLEAF, which was created in early 2009, is well positioned to be a successful regional center partly because of its personnel. Two of the partners, Maralyn Leaf and Luciana Zamith, are immigration attorneys in Miami who both have a wealth of experience with the EB-5 visa program. In addition to this legal acumen, BirchLEAF can draw on the knowledge of Ben Cummings and Bruce Ricciuti, both of whom have extensive experience in commercial real estate. This combination of legal savvy and real estate expertise are often needed to run a successful regional center.
BirchLEAF is working to bring in 40 foreign investors to help fund the building in the University of Miami Life Science and Technology Park. With a $500,000 investment from each, that would mean $20 million in EB-5 investment going to help the school expand its operations.
According to Cummings, most of investor interest is coming from Central and South America, as well as Asia.
Helping foreign nationals find EB-5 investment opportunities that regional center’s like BirchLEAF possess are EB-5 consulting firms, like Exclusive Visas. These firms aid foreigners in identifying investments and regional centers that meet their desired level of risk. They can be extremely helpful for those looking to become eligible for their U.S. green card through the EB-5 visa program.