If a recent Greater Wilmington Business Journal report is any indication, it looks like the EB-5 program is making some headway on the North Carolina coast.
Working with investors in China, developer Chuck Schoninger has said he is nearly ready to begin construction on what will be the Northern Riverfront Marina and Hotel. Schoninger is the CEO of USA InvestCo, which owns 35 acres of riverfront property in Wilmington.
If he's successful in acquiring enough investment, Schoninger's company will begin building what he calls "one of the sexiest hotels out there," an add-on to the 11.75 acre marina that is already under construction.
Thus far, most of Schoninger's success with this project has come from his opening an office in Guangzhou, China last year. He is also looking into the possibility of adding new offices, one in Shanghai and one in Beijing. Establishing these offices comes, of course, in response to increased interest from investors looking into EB-5 visa projects.
Schoninger also has an office in the Republic of Kazakhstan where his company continues its efforts to raise funds for the marina effort.
The current project
Schoninger anticipates having all of the funding that he needs, an additional $17 million, to finish the project by the second quarter of 2012. According to the USA InvestCo Website, the marina will accommodate "up to 204 slips ranging in size from 40 to 100 feet."
The project site sits near the Wilmington Convention Center. Facilities will include a hotel from a yet-unnamed but, according to Schoninger, highly-respected brand, two restaurants, and the marina. Going forward, Schoninger's plans will largely be based on the ability to raise the needed funds from immigrant investor capital, but he seems confident that everything is on track:
'We?ve been extremely successful in raising capital for this project,' Schoninger said. 'Our investors see the potential, and are ready to invest.'
According to Schoninger, further construction of a city riverwalk area complete with commercial development is in the cards as well. There has also been discussion of a new minor league baseball stadium nearby, although that project would depend on local government funding.
image credit: USA InvestCo