When Edgewater Resources LLC in St. Joseph sought to turn a former Whirlpool Corp. factory in Benton Harbor into a waterfront resort and championship golf course, it turned to an unusual source of funding, at least for a Michigan developer.
Edgewater principal Ron Schults and his partners raised $18 million from 38 foreign investors in China and India for the $30 million project. In return for their investment, the foreign nationals used a federal program to seek a permanent U.S. green card.
The challenge for developers like Schults seeking to woo wealthy foreigners: Many potential overseas investors see Michigan as flyover country.
“We actually sold (Harbor Shores) as a suburb of Chicago because at least people know about Chicago, even though it’s still in the Midwest,” Schults said. “But they do know about it, so that helped us a lot.”
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