Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In video for "Atlantic Yards III," the arena (soon to be sold) still gets prominence, while (stalled) B2 building portrayed as progress

Also see coverage of the use of a State Department official in Atlantic Yards III promotion.

So, what's the difference between Atlantic Yards II, the second effort to raise funds from immigrant investors under the EB-5 program (visas for low-interest loans that purportedly create jobs) and Atlantic Yards III, the third effort?

Well, Atlantic Yards II aimed to raise $249 million from 498 investors, mostly from China, while Atlantic Yards III, which is ongoing, aims at $100 million from 200 investors. But the projects are essentially similar.

Both promotions heavily on the Barclays Center, though the money (presumably) will go to construction of residential towers and/or infrastructure, and maybe even to pay off the first round of Atlantic Yards EB05 financing. And, as shown below, the upbeat videos promoting each project are very similar.

The projects are marketed by the U.S. Immigration Fund, a federally authorized "regional center" set up to package and promote such projects, along with the Qiao Wai migration consultancy in China, with the cooperation of Greenland Forest City Partners, the joint venture building the project.

The leader of the U.S. Immigration Fund, Nicholas Mastroianni II, Fortune recently reported, "has a long history of legal problems, failed ventures, and unpaid debts—which have continued even as his professional fortunes have turned sharply upward—leaving a legacy of conflicts, judgments, and entanglements." Perhaps he's found the lightly regulated EB-5 world more to his liking.

The Atlantic Yards III video

The video below uses the same interviews with Forest City Chairman Bruce Ratner and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin that appear in the Atlantic Yards II video (bottom), with a focus on the Barclays Center, but with some new visuals.

Despite the official name change from Atlantic Yards to Pacific Park Brooklyn, they don't want to confuse the potential investors from China--where Atlantic Yards must be somewhat of a brand--so they're still calling it Atlantic Yards.

There are two new ironies. The video includes several dramatic shots (see above right) of the B2 modular tower, seemingly rising boldly in the sky. But B2 is stalled, and the subject of a bitter legal dispute.

That adds some irony to Ratner's claim about Forest City, in the video, "One of the most important thing about our company, if you were to ask people in New York is: they get it done. We finish things... We understand that it's very important for all the people in EB-5 that we do what we say we'll do."

Also, not only can the investors not put their money into the Barclays Center, Forest City soon may not own it. Its share of the arena is now up for sale, and may even be transferred early in the process by which the immigrant investors come to the United States.




Some new visuals

The new video contains some new visuals showing Forest City's partnership with Greenland and with EB-5 promoters. Some screenshots below. Note the Chinese subtitles, which (I presume) translate the statements by Ratner and Gilmartin.

The Greenland Forest City Partners logo. In Brooklyn?


Greenland and Forest City, working together

Ratner greets (I believe) Ding Ying of Qiao Wai and Nicholas Mastroianni III of the U.S. Immigration Fund
The Atlantic Yards II video

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