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Forest City, with partner, seeking $60M in EB-5 funds for Downtown Brooklyn office tower (model for Site 5?)

As Eliot Brown of the Wall Street Journal first pointed out, Forest City Ratner, in partnership with JEMB Realty on a planned office tower in Downtown Brooklyn, is seeking $60 million in below-cost loans from immigrant investors under the federal government's dubious EB-5 program, which trades visas for investors and their families in exchange for a $500,000 investment that purportedly creates ten jobs.

The tower, variously known as 420 Albee Square and One Willoughby Square, was initially planned by JEMB, which was nudged by the city to build office space, and which earlier this year brought in Forest City as a partner, with an unspecified percentage.

Presumably Forest City's experience with Brooklyn office space at MetroTech, as well as with EB-5, was a selling point.

Presuming this is successful, and the EB-5 program is renewed, surely Greenland Forest City Partners will go back to EB-5 investors for the planned--though not yet approved--two-tower complex at Site 5, slated to be the single largest development within the Pacific Park project.

Drilling down on current project

The $60 million in EB-5 funds is only about 15% of the new office tower's total budget, but under the yet-to-be-reformed program rules, project developers can claim job-creation credit based on the entire pool of money.

In other words, a multiplier calculating job creation is applied to the entire $398 million invested, not just the immigrant investors' $60 million. That's legit only if the EB-5 funds were absolutely necessary to get the project off the ground, and there's no proof of that.

This fund-raising, by the way, is via CanAm Enterprises' New York Metropolitan Regional Center, not the other two regional centers (New York Immigration Fund, New York City Regional Center) that served as intermediaries for the $577 million raised in three tranches for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park. Despite those official-sounding names, all are privately-run investment pools.

The pages below, from the Chinese migration agency Wailan, are translated into English via Google Translate, so very unofficial.

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