The EB-5 program can be a powerful tool for funding both large- and small-scale projects and LGRC is eager to work with developers to find investment for suitable projects within the greater Chicagoland area.
What makes the EB-5 program attractive to developers is that investors who use the program have a somewhat different list of priorities than other sources of capital. Of primary interest to our investors is that the business create a lot of jobs, since the proof of job creation is how they receive permanent residency, and, after receiving their green cards, that the business have a high-probability exit strategy to buy out the investors’ principal in a 5-year timeframe. Projects that meet these criteria will be rewarded with capital, usually in the form of preferred equity, well below market rate.
What makes the EB-5 program unattractive to developers is the timeframe for that capital to come online. Typically, a capital raise will take several months, after which the investors file their initial visa applications. The approval of those applications can easily take 8-10 months. Only then, close to 18 months later, is the investor capital then released from escrow into the project.
Consequently, if you are considering using EB-5 capital please contact us early in the process. Not only will this reduce any delays in the EB-5 funding, but it will enable us to advise you on many aspects of the project to maximize its success within the EB-5 space.
That said, the job of the Regional Center is, first and foremost, to protect the interests of the immigrant investors. We will only work on projects that we ourselves would be willing to invest in and we use many of the same criteria to determine whether a project is investment worthy as would any bank or investment fund. This means we will only partner with developers who have a proven track record and a history of ethical business practices; and who already either own the proposed land outright or own an option to purchase, and who have the cash flow required to cover all soft costs.
The kinds of projects we will not consider include the following:
1. BUSINESSES THAT ARE TOO SMALL.
Your 3-person dog-walking business is ready to go regional? You need angel investors, not EB-5. After you’ve opened a dozen shops and have built a franchise model with 5 years of increasing same-store revenues, that’s when you should call us.
2. BUSINESSES TOO EARLY IN PRE-DEVELOPMENT.
You have a brilliant plan to redesign 3 acres of Chicago waterfront with a massive $200M amusement park and all you need are some city permits and you are off to the races? Get the permits first and we can race together.
All you need is $50K so you can buy the option on a building that will be perfect for an indoor golf range and high-end steak house? We do not provide seed money and we will not work with underfinanced developers who cannot withstand the full barrage of pre-development costs.
3. BUSINESSES THAT LACK OVERSIGHT
You would like to accept the EB-5 investment and want to do all of your own oversight and auditing? Our fiduciary responsibilities are to ensure that all investor capital is spent in accordance with the best interest of our investors. We will be as vigilant in the draw-down process as any bank lender and we will have an independent auditor ensure that all monies are properly appropriated.
4. BUSINESSES WITHOUT OTHER EQUITY SOURCES
EB-5 works best as part of a larger capital stack. We will not entertain projects that are 100% EB-5 funded.
If you still feel as though your project is a good fit, please contact us. LGRC works with foreign investors under the EB-5 program to provide funding for sound and strategic investment opportunities. We seek to partner with developers in the Illinois region in need of an additional layer of funding for their quality commerical projects.
LGRC is Illinois’ premier Regional Center for foreign investors seeking permanent residency in the United States. Pairing decades of experience in government finance with strategic immigration policy and legal compliance, we streamline the EB-5 process – helping developers acquire the additional capital they are seeking, while simplifying the immigration process for foreign investors and their families. EB-5 financing is available to any commercial enterprise as long as the project can properly verify that jobs (direct and indirect) are created with the investments.
HISTORY & BACKGROUND
The EB-5 immigrant investment category was created by the US Congress in 1990 to encourage foreign investment that would stimulate the US economy. The EB-5 program is administered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). LGRC was approved by the USCIS in October 2011.
The number of EB-5 immigration Visas is limited to 10,000 per year, with 7,000 allocated for individual immigrant entrepreneurs who invest a minimum of $1,000,000 and create 10 direct jobs. The remaining 3,000 visas are allocated for those who apply through a Regional Center under the EB-5 Pilot Program, generally with a $500,000 investment. Such investments also require the creation of 10 jobs per investor, but indirect as well as direct jobs are included in that tabulation.