Would-Be EB5 Investment Visa Project Put on Hold in Florida
It looks like an EB5 investment visa project that was supposed to fund a downtown city center in Port St. Lucie, Florida won’t be receiving any funds through the program. The Chinese developer who had pledged to secure the funds sent a letter to the city a couple of weeks ago canceling her commitment.
This from WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida:
by Bryan Garner
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Through her attorney a Chinese developer sent a one line letter to Port St. Lucie officials:
“Please be advised that U.S. Investments, LLC hereby cancels the above referenced Contract for Sale and Purchase of the City Center parcels, effective immediately,” reads the letter.
The developer, Lily Zhong, told Port St. Lucie city council members last month she was charmed by the city’s “very peaceful and friendly” atmosphere.
She told the council she could attract potentially hundreds of Chinese investors to put down at least $500,000 each to help develop the City Center property, which is slated to become Port St. Lucie’s future downtown.
The news was encouraging to the council, which has been trying to attract investors to the property ever since its first developer, George de Guardiola, defaulted on his payments in 2009, sending the property into foreclosure.
Without another investor, the property will go to auction in December of this year.
Zhong’s attorney, Karen Mentor of Hobe Sound, said there were two main reasons the deal fell through.
First, she said her client was not aware that city assessments on the property – which could run between $1.4 and $1.7 million a year – would be payable as soon as early 2011. Mentor said her client thought the payments, which go to service bonds on the property, would be payable at a later date, when more investors were involved in the project.
Secondly, Mentor said, “The Chinese stock market has been really rather rocky the last couple of weeks,” and that has impacted the 7-8 investors who were lined up for the City Center project.
She said Zhong has been communicating via Skype with these investors over the past several weeks, leading up to her announcing they were pulling out of the deal on Tuesday.
Zhong originally said one of the incentives to the deal was promise of expedited green cards for her potential investors. A U.S. government program provides a fast-tracked green card to eligible foreign investors who put down at least $500,000 to create at least 10 American jobs.
Mentor said her client applied for the program, known as EB-5, but has not yet received approval from the U.S. government.
Photo courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Port_St._Lucie_Metropolitan_Area.png
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