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Immigration Law

EB-5 'investor visa' program a boon for development funding

"When Andrew Kimball needed $60 million to help redevelop the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2009, the president of the 300-acre industrial park boarded a plane for China.  Halfway around the world, he made a compelling pitch to potential investors packing conference rooms and auditoriums in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen: Pump money into job-generating construction projects in the U.S. and—thanks to an obscure federal immigration program—get a guaranteed return of coveted green cards.  “It was like a gift from the gods,” Mr. Kimball said of the program, recalling how American lenders had been reluctant to offer the Navy Yard financing after the recession. “We'd been exploring every option under the sun.”  Mr. Kimball returned from China with millions of dollars in commitments. Since then, a growing number of developers across the city have taken advantage of the federal program, known as EB-5. Once virtually unknown in New York, the 20-year-old program has become a lifeline for economic development in recent years, raising hundreds of millions of dollars for film studios, hotels and even Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards project." - Crain's, Jan. 8, 2012.