Several regional centers are making headlines as they finalize new developments through the EB5 visa program. In recent weeks, another would-be regional center announced that it is awaiting approval from USCIS, while a more established one has received the green light to expand its geographical area for EB-5 foreign investment.
At the same time, another regional center has met some critical opposition from an organization opposed to immigrant investor visas.
Every week, cities across the country eagerly await approval to open a regional center for business, and the city of McAllen, Texas is no exception. The city announced last month that the McAllen Economic Development Corporation is awaiting its approval from USCIS. President and CEO Keith Patridge has reportedly seen a large amount of interest from local developers who are excited about the possibility of securing foreign investor funding.
?I think it?s another tool in the toolbox to help us bring investment and jobs to McAllen," Patridge told the McAllen, Texas Public Information Office. "It?s something that we?ve been looking at for a little over two years."
While that city awaits approval, American Life Ventures has plans to expand its regional center territory into Everett, Washington. My Everett News reports that on August 8, 2011, the city added a second regional center to its existing smaller regional center in north central Everett. Lanie McMullin, Everett?s economic development coordinator told the publication that the city had encountered problems securing loans as of late. The new larger regional center is expected to help other parts of Snohomish County benefit from EB-5 financing.
American Life is one of the oldest, most established EB-5 regional centers in the country.
Also in the news, the Arizona City Independent just reported that the 1.5-million-square-foot ?sourcing center? scheduled to be completed and open for business in Casa Grande, Arizona by the end of 2012, has been criticized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The Independent reports that despite rumors that the retail shopping center will create thousands of jobs,the organization fails to share in the optimism.
?If it is a good investment, it shouldn?t be necessary to offer immigration visas,?Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the organization, told the Independent. ?People make investments in foreign countries all the time. It shouldn?t come with any promise that you?re going to be able to have 300 people come here as immigrants and bring your families."
Anti-immigration groups' opposition to the EB-5 visa program is old news, of course.
In other EB-5 developments, The Biz Times Daily reported September 1 that Jackson Street Management LLC has closed on land that is to house a $54 million Marriott hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Financing for the project will come via FirstPathway Partners.
?The downtown Marriott will be a terrific addition to metro Milwaukee, creating good jobs, adding millions to the local tax base and making downtown a more vibrant, exciting place for residents and visitors alike,? Chairman Bob Kraft told the publication.