The Real Deal's Shanghai Showcase: EB-5 defender calls it job creation program; reticence regarding money-moving tactics
The EB-5 visa program was the subject of the second featured panel talk, with United States Immigration Fund’s Nicholas Mastroianni giving a rundown on the legislative threats to EB-5 and the likely reforms coming down the pipe. He tried to make the case that the US government should treat EB-5 as a job creation program instead of an investment vehicle for rural and underserved communities, and pointed to the fact that the overwhelming majority of Chinese EB-5 investors choose to put their money in high-end urban projects.(Emphases added)
“You can choose the Marriott Hotel in Springfield, Illinois… or are you going to build a Times Square hotel built by a 200 million dollar company?” he said.
Except last year, at the very same showcase, Mastroianni--who's twice raised money for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, and also for the Nassau Coliseum revamp-- acknowledged that EB-5 is not a job-creation program.
Mastronianni said, as I reported, that "Projects that don't typically need the capital are the projects that we look to lend money on. If a project can't be developed without the EB-5 capital, it's not a project that you should be looking to invest in, because you've got a desperate situation." That devastating admission should be part of all subsequent EB-5 reporting. But it's not.
Getting money out of China
In another piece, the Real Deal reported:
The subject of capital controls and how the Chinese government wields them came up during virtually all of the day’s discussions. Smart investors can get money out of mainland China, said Jennifer Wang, a wealth management executive with PricewaterhouseCoopers. “There’s some practical ways to get the money out, to work around the policy restrictions,” she said. But when pressed by TRD Editor-in-chief Stuart Elliott to elaborate on those “practical ways,” Wang became notably shy."Notably shy," I suspect, is a cover for "we don't want to talk about unethical practices."
There's an interesting quote from Sotheby’s International Realty’s Kevin Brown:
“There are no deals,” Brown explained. That said, it doesn’t stop the Chinese buyer from trying. “It’s very hard for a Chinese buyer to stop negotiating,” he said, in an admitted cultural generalization, recalling clients who have persisted in attempting to bargain down the price of their home all the way to closing table.That raises a question: will the largest Chinese buyer, Greenland USA, ever stop negotiating with its current partner, Forest City New York, if and when they decide to end their partnership regarding one or more parcels? Stay tuned.