Chinese partners to seek EB-5 funding for CCCC Miami Towers

Miami's skyline from December 2011 (Credit: John Spade) and the Chinese flag
Miami's skyline from December 2011 (Credit: John Spade) and the Chinese flag

China City Construction and American Da Tang Group, which are planning a nearly $1 billion mixed-use development in Miami’s Brickell area, will seek EB-5 funding to help build the project, an attorney linked to the developers announced on Monday.

China City Construction Holding Group and American Da Tang Group’s CCCC Miami Towers will look for up to $350 million in EB-5 funds, said attorney Roger Bernstein, who co-owns the EB-5 regional center sponsoring the development. The Miami-based regional center, called American Life Investments LLC, will promote the project among EB-5 investors in China and Latin America, Bernstein told The Real Deal.

The developers will be seeking 700 investors, and will begin promoting the project in China in early 2016, starting with Shanghai and Beijing, he said.

“It’s a really significant project, particularly for the Chinese market,” Bernstein told TRD. “This is a major player in the Chinese construction and development world and very well recognized in China.”

Last December, American Da Tang and a China City Construction affiliate acquired the site at 1430 South Miami Avenue in the Brickell area for $74.7 million.

The construction of CCCC Miami Towers is expected to cost $875 million. The mixed-use project will include residential condominiums, a hotel, office and retail space. Renderings have not yet been released.

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Under the EB-5 investor visa program, foreigners invest $500,000 in qualifying EB-5 projects in order to obtain U.S. residency. To qualify, the development must create at least 10 direct and indirect jobs per investor.

The EB-5 visa program was set to expire or be renewed on Sept. 30, but a stopgap bill signed that day is keeping it afloat through Dec. 11, when Congress plans to discuss amendments to the program.

The federal program grants 10,000 EB-5 visas every year. Close to 85 percent of EB-5 investors in the United States come from China, yet South Florida has so far seen little of that investment. The Chinese developers’ strategy could help change that, Bernstein said.

“I think it is an important first step to realizing the migration of wealthy Chinese investors to South Florida, which we have been trying to do for a long time,” he said.

As the Latin American buyer pool has weakened, South Florida luxury condo developers have been stepping up their efforts to seek Chinese buyers, and have increasingly traveled to China to promote their projects. Miami real estate brokerage firms have hired Mandarin Chinese-speaking sales agents to reel in Chinese investors, and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce recently created a Miami-China committee to help boost ties with China.