Proposed Florida resort looking for EB-5 investments
A Florida real estate developer is hoping to obtain money through the EB-5 visa program to help fund a proposed $131 million resort.
Lon Tabatchnik and his partners believe that they will be able to obtain $75 million from foreign investors to help develop the proposed Margaritaville Resort on Hollywood beach in Florida, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The EB-5 visa programs gives foreign nationals a chance to earn U.S. green cards. By investing $1 million in an American business the investor become green card eligible if that investment leads to the creation or preservation of 10 jobs.
Tabatchnik’s group is hoping to gain approval to create an EB-5 regional center to direct foreign investment in to the Hollywood beach project.
EB-5 regional centers help to manage EB-5 investments and 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,” according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Some EB-5 regional centers, like Tabatchnik’s proposed one, are designated as Targeted Employment Areas. These regions are distinguished by having an unemployment rate higher than the national average. Only $500,000 need be invested in such areas.
The Jimmy Buffett-themed resort would feature 360 guest rooms and a number of other attractive features, reports the news source.
According to Tabatchnik, hotels are an excellent way to create the number of jobs required by the EB-5 visa program.
“Some EB-5 investors worry if they’ll meet employment requirements, but a hotel creates jobs immediately. And we’ve found,” Tabatchnik told the news provider, “some investors are more comfortable when government is involved.”
It is expected that the Margaritaville resort would create 3,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The EB-5 visa program has grown in popularity immensely in the past few years as the recession has dried up lending capital in the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security approved 4,218 green cards through the EB-5 visa program in fiscal 2009, up from just 1,443 in fiscal 2008.
The Hollywood beach project is being marketed to investors in many different countries including South Korea, Venezuela and China, which had the most EB-5 investors get green cards last year, with 1,979.