Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey is on his way to China to woo investors for a $67 million, 160-room Embassy Suites hotel downtown.
Morrissey and Gary Gorman, president of Wisconsin-based Gorman & Company, left for China this morning. They have meetings over several days in Shanghai and Shenzhen, hoping their pitch for the project will convince wealthy Chinese residents to put $500,000 into the project in exchange for a visa to live in the United States.
"I'm still very optimistic that we have an opportunity to start construction on this in the fall," Morrissey said. "That's why I'm making the trip."
Morrissey's China trips are paid for by Gorman under a development agreement the company has with the city.
Gorman wants to convert the vacant 13-story Amerock building into a hotel, using money from China, historic tax credits and loans. Gorman is raising money in China through EB-5, a U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services program. Foreign citizens can get green cards for investing a half-million dollars in projects that create 10 jobs in economically distressed areas.
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