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Developers Fighting to Keep EB-5 Alive


Developers love the EB-5 visa program as a cheap source of capital, but it’s under attack—and up for a questionable renewal on Dec. 11—prompting developers to pour money into lobbying to ensure it stays on the books.

EB-5 offers foreigners a green card in exchange for a $500k minimum investment in the US economy, and has consistently provided developers with cheap capital. However, some politicians criticize it for circumventing the immigration process.

“EB-5 has been a tremendous help for us because it allowed us to put in early infrastructure before construction,” said Related Cos CEO Jeff Blau.

And Related is paying to keep that help around. This year it shelled out at least $730k in lobbying fees supporting EB-5, only a tiny fraction of what it raised in EB-5 funds for its $600M Hudson Yards development.

Related isn’t alone. CIM Group spent $480k this year lobbying for EB-5, and Forest City Ratner threw $140k into the pot after more than 1,100 foreign investors injected $577M into Pacific Park Brooklyn (a JV between Forest City Ratner and Greenland USA).

Silverstein Properties also joined the fight, paying out $20k in EB-5 lobbying after raising more than $250M from foreign investors on 30 Park Place and hoping to raise more than $500M from EB-5 for 2 World Trade Center. [TRD]