Need Financing to Build U.S. Property? Try Chinese Visa Seekers – China Real Time Report – WSJ

The giant trucks pumping concrete in Hudson Yards, New York’s biggest real-estate project in a generation, are being financed by an unlikely source: about 1,200 Chinese families in search of U.S. visas. As the WSJ’s Eliot Brown reports:

Developer Related Cos. says it has raised roughly $600 million from the families to build the foundation for three skyscrapers at the West Side project, a 17-million-square-foot colossus of office, retail and residential space set to open over the next decade.

To finance the concrete-steel platform, Related tapped a little-known and at times controversial federal visa program known as EB-5, which offers green cards to foreign families who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. projects that create at least 10 jobs per investor.

The amount brought in so far, which privately held Related hasn’t previously disclosed, is a record for the cash-for-visa program.

Related’s success shows how the once-obscure federal program has grown in popularity among developers and foreign investors since the recession.

Chinese nationals are the biggest source of EB-5 funds, making up more than 85% of visas approved in the 12 months ended in September. Many are investing for their children rather than for themselves, said Kenneth Li, a Houston real-estate broker who has offered advice to Chinese investing in EB-5 projects.

“For many of them, it’s for the next generation,” he said.

via Need Financing to Build U.S. Property? Try Chinese Visa Seekers – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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