Local projects need cash, says Ginny Fang, CEO of the San Francisco Bay Area Regional center
Projects court foreign bucks
Chinese investment is landing in the Bay Area, on the wings of an American visa program promising green cards in return for financing job-producing projects. But plenty of controversy is along for the ride.
Foreign investors and American entrepreneurs are both increasingly tapping the pay-to-play federal EB-5 program, according to insiders and government statistics. That is particularly true in California and the Bay Area, where real estate redevelopment like the Hunters Point shipyard and a sort of incubator of EB-5-funded businesses at downtown Oakland’s Tribune Tower are able to trade U.S. green cards for as little as a half-million dollars.
Just last fall, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and his partners won U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approval to operate a so-called “regional center” that serves as a middleman linking Lennar Urban’s Hunters Point redevelopment with potential foreign investors. Regional centers can aggregate EB-5 investment from many investors, handle paperwork and immigration questions, and apportion jobs created to ensure as many as possible receive permanent U.S. residency rights.
In all, the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Center, operated by an entity called Golden State Renaissance Ventures LLC, hopes to raise five funds over six years totaling $300 million for the Hunters Point project, said Ginny Fang, the center’s CEO.
Read more by cliking below image