Thursday, December 15, 2011

A view of EB-5 regional centers from the inside: marketing key to success, as is endorsement by local government, even though it's a private project

A 4/5/10 report by the Portland (OR) Development Corporation on the possibility of setting up a regional center to market EB-5 investments contains some interesting insights, based on calls to current regional center providers.

The report notes that marketing overseas is crucial, which means local government is rarely the applicant, because it lacks such marketing resources. A minimum of $600,000 is needed to set up, apply, and administer a regional center.

However, endorsement (or the appearance thereof) by local government is critical (as suggested in my coverage of the Atlantic Yards EB-5 venture in China) because it indicates political support, provides the appearance of financial stability, and plays well with investors from China, the largest source of EB-5 funds.

The report--issued before a plethora of new regional centers were established--suggested that only ten to twelve regional centers "really know what they are doing – marketing is critical to success."

Apparently the New York City Regional Center, which has aggressively marketed Atlantic Yards and other projects, knows what it's doing. At least assuming that regulators don't care.

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