The Real Deal New York

Related raises record-setting $600M through EB-5 program

Cash-for-visa program a "critical part" of financing the $20B Hudson Yards project on the Far West Side
December 10, 2014 08:31AM

Related Companies, the developer behind the Far West Side’s massive Hudson Yards project, has raised about $600 million to finance the building of the foundation of three towers at the site through the federal government’s EB-5 visa program.

The amount of money that Related has raised through EB-5 is a record, according to the Wall Street Journal, and underscores the growing popularity of the program.

The EB-5 incentive, created in 1990 as a way to create jobs using foreign capital, offers a visa in return for a $500,000 investment and the creation of 10 jobs.

Related isn’t the city’s only big developer that is using the government program. Forest City Ratner Companies has raised more than $475 million through the program to construct its project near the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Durst Organization raised $260 million through the EB-5 program in 2013 and 2014 for two apartment towers.

More than 10,000 foreign investors applied for the EB-5 visa in the fiscal year that ended on September 30, according to the newspaper. The number is up from 6,346 applicants from a year before. In 2006, 486 overseas investors applied for the visa.

Related’s chief executive officer Jeff Blau plans to raise hundreds of millions more from Chinese investors — who make up the largest percentage of applicants — and other EB-5 visa-holders for the more than $20 billion project.

“It was a very critical part of the puzzle,” he told the newspaper. “It’s so big, there’s not enough capital from any one traditional source.” [WSJ]Claire Moses