According to a business article from Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel, USCIS has approved the first of 30 Chinese citizen EB-5 investors, each of whom will provide $500,000 in equity capital for the tentative development of a new hotel and restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Gary Gorman of the development company Gorman & Co., plans to use EB5 visa funding to convert the former Pabst brew and mill house, at the northwest corner of W. Juneau Ave. and N. 10th St., into a six-story, 90-room extended stay hotel and a German Hofbrauhaus restaurant.
Gorman and Cincinnati Restaurant Group Inc., which operates a Hofbrauhaus restaurant in Newport, Kentucky, are currently negotiating a lease for the 18,000 square foot area.
The Hofbrauhaus restaurant will open on the hotel's first floor, and it will feature traditional Bavarian and American dishes as well as an outdoor beer garden. The original Hofbrauhaus is one of Munich, Germany's most popular and oldest breweries.
While the EB-5 investment project cannot begin without the rest of the $15 million in foreign investor capital, developers are optimistic that construction will begin this summer.
"That's one out of 30," says Gorman, referring to the single investor who has "cleared" the I-526 stage. "But it's very significant because it means the USCIS didn't have any problems with the development itself.
Approval for the first Chinese investor comes after six months of waiting to hear from USCIS, so it's no surprise that Gorman is cautioning all involved that the federal approval process is slow and that there are no guarantees that the development will get the go ahead. However, now that the first investor has been approved, the hope is that approval for the remaining foreign investors will follow suit.
$3.8 million in federal historic preservation tax credits will also help finance the development.