NYC politician may join developer on EB-5 China trip
The Brooklyn Borough President may be joining a developer on his trip to China to drum up foreign nationals to help fund a major project in New York City through the EB-5 visa program.
The New York City Regional Center has invited Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to help it draw investors for the Atlantic Yards project, according to the New York Daily News.
The $4.9 billion development is being spear-headed by Bruce Ratner and his company Forest City Ratner. The centerpiece of the project would be a new arena to lure the New Jersey Nets to New York but would also include 16 towers, which would hold thousands of apartments and office buildings.
Ratner is hoping that he can draw $250 million in investments through the EB-5 visa program.
The EB-5 visa program gives foreign nationals a chance to earn U.S. green cards. If a foreigner invests $1 million in an American business and that investment leads to the creation or preservation of 10 jobs, the investors becomes green card eligible.
EB-5 regional centers help direct and manage these foreign investments and according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service they can be "any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment."
Some regional centers, like the New York City Regional Center, are located in what are known as Targeted Employment Areas. These areas are distinguished by having an unemployment rate higher than the national average. Only $500,000 needs to be invested in such areas under the EB-5 visa program.
It is hoped that Markowitz's inclusion on the trip would help draw investment in the Atlantic Yards project.
"Part of his role is to encourage investment in Brooklyn, and this program is designed to bring investors to the table for projects that create jobs," Markowitz spokeswoman Laura Sinagra told the news provider. "As the person who came up with the original idea of bringing major league sports back to Brooklyn and one of the biggest supporters of Atlantic Yards, he obviously believes this project is worthy of investment."
Markowitz is waiting for the city's Conflicts of Interest Board to determine whether it is acceptable for him to go on the trip to China, which gets underway on October 11.