Friday, May 18, 2012

EB-5 Pittsburgh Update

The Bakery Square development in East Liberty is a success story. So good, in fact, Walnut Capital Partners will invest $100 million in a property across the street. As the article details, that's the same amount spent on Bakery Square. The big number jogged my memory. Towards the end of 2008, I wrote about how the EB-5 visa program helped to fund the retrofitting of the Nabisco cracker factory into Rust Belt Chic digs for Google. However, I lost track of the controversy about Chinese investors taking over Pittsburgh real estate. Did the financial arrangement hold?

I found a Tribune-Review piece from early March of 2012 titled, "Foreign dollars fill funding gap in Pittsburgh region". As far as I can tell, the Trib deleted the story. (Update: Comment below that might explain the dead link.) Here is the cache file:

Encouraged by a federal program, Chinese and other foreign nationals are investing heavily in projects in the Pittsburgh region, including $71 million toward construction of UPMC East in Monroeville and $30 million toward the city's Bakery Square development in East Liberty.

The Immigrant Investor Program, known as EB-5, created by the Immigration Act of 1990, enables foreigners to invest private money in American projects in return for permission to live here and possible, but not guaranteed, interest on their investments.

UPMC's latest hospital, opening this summer, and the $110 million Bakery Square retail and office complex are among at least four developments that received or will receive millions in foreign dollars, said Lily Liqi Pietryka, managing director of Pittsburgh Regional Investment Center in Oakland, which finds foreigners interested in the program.

This kind of news tends to fly under the radar. Development good. Foreign investors bad. Don't excite the xenophobes. For the more opened minded (and pro economic development), check out this video:

How do you link capital heavy markets, such as China, with capital hungry companies here in the Pittsburgh region? Lily Liqi Pietryka, managing director for the Pittsburgh Regional Investment Center and Michael Matesic , president and CEO of the Idea Foundry unveil an innovative approach, using U.S. visas as the hook, to attract additional foreign capital into the region.


BrianTH said...

So the Chinese make valuable stuff and ship it to us, and then we give them dollars. The Chinese then turn around and use those dollars to pay people to build more valuable stuff in the United States, in return for which they get more dollars (eventually, they hope).

So we are getting all the real stuff, and they are getting dollars. Maybe that is a bad deal for someone, but I would bet on us having the better end of it.

Anonymous said...

Just FYI, the Trib recently redid their site, and I think there are a lot of dead links. One of their sports columnists just today mentioned an old piece of his that he couldn't link to.

Jim Russell said...

Just FYI, the Trib recently redid their site, and I think there are a lot of dead links.

Thanks for the tip. That might explain the dead end.