Illinois sports complex to get EB-5 funding
A significant portion of the funding for an Illinois sports complex is expected to come from foreign nationals who invest in the EB-5 visa program.
According to the Northwest Herald, developers for the 165-acre McHenry County Sportsplex in Lakewood, Illinois, have received commitments for $36 million from the Chicagoland Foreign Investment Group (CFIG), an EB-5 regional center.
The project is expected to cost $40 million. The remaining funding is expected to come from private equity, grants the Lakewood Village Board hopes to get and revenue sharing, reports the news source.
The EB-5 visa program was established to help American businesses attract foreign investment. If a foreign national invests $1 million in a U.S. business and that investment results in the creation or preservation of 10 jobs, the investor becomes eligible for a U.S. green card.
EB-5 regional centers were created to help direct and manage foreign investments. These centers can be public or private entities. Some areas that regional centers operate in, like Lakewood, are designated as Targeted Employment Areas. These areas are defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average,” according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The advantage of investing in such an area is that only a commitment of $500,000 is required.
Jack Porter, the project manager for the Sportsplex, said that because the project is being financed through the EB-5 visa program there is no need to worry about debts from banks, which helps.
“When we don’t have a debt, it makes it a lot easier to run,” he told the news provider. “It makes the chances for survivability and profitability [greater].”
Taher Kameli, the executive director of the EB-5 regional center, said that he believes that CFIG will have the funds it promised by the end of next year.
Kameli cited the $8.5 million CFIG raised in three months for the Aurora Memory Care Center assisted living facility as an example of the EB-5 regional center’s ability to produce funding.
“Based on my experience, I don’t see any issues to raising these funds,” he told the news source.
While many of the investors will not end up living in McHenry County, their investments will help the area, according to Kameli.
“Not many of the investors will live in McHenry County. They may live somewhere else in the U.S.,” he told the Herald. “But their money creates jobs in McHenry County. That’s what residents should care about.”