A visa program that lets foreigners invest their way into permanent residency is getting a new lease on life, thanks to the recession and tight credit.
EB-5 Regional Centers in Florida
» Florida Equity & Growth Fund Regional Center
Investment: $500,000 or $1 million
Area: The Florida High Tech Corridor, which includes Alachua, Brevard, Citrus, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Orange, Osecola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties
Projects: Regional center owner Walter “Marty” Cummins, a Florida lawyer and real estate broker, recently teamed up with Lakeland-based real estate developers Rob Harper and Brian Philpot of Land South Holdings in Mulberry to direct strategic purchases for the center. The trio will likely establish businesses in Cypress Gardens, the Winter Haven amusement park that Land South purchased in bankruptcy in 2007. The holding company also owns more than 230,000 acres throughout the Southeast that could also benefit from EB-5 money. The regional center has received approval for a variety of projects, including hotels, restaurants and retail. Other industry focuses could include retail trade; real estate; manufacturing; performing arts; museums, historical sites and similar institutions; and professional, scientific and technical services.
Contact: Walter M. "Marty" Cummins Jr.
» Lake Buena Vista
Area: Orlando-Kissimmee Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, comprising Orange, Osceola, Lake and Seminole counties.
Project: Continued development and expansion of Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa, located one mile from Disney World. Foreign investors receive a 1/35th interest in a Florida limited liability company, which will own 70 furnished condo/hotel units at the Lake Buena Vista Resort.
Contact: Samuel Sutton
» South Florida Investment
Area: Miami-Dade and Monroe counties
Project: This center has received approval for projects in a number of industry sectors, including hotel tourism and development, manufacturing companies, professional firms, restaurants and major real estate developments, among others. Miami lawyer J. Eric Gould is spearheading the center along with Miami immigration lawyer David Hart. Gould previously worked in the Clinton White House and served as an aide during the 1990s to then-Rep. Karen Thurman (D-FL). Thurman, the current chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, and Gould operate a lobbying firm together called Thurman Gould LLC.
Contact: J. Eric Gould
» Palm Beach Regional
Center/Palm Beach Investment
Area: Palm Beach County
Projects: Initial plans are to develop an inland port and cargo warehousing and distribution center. Future industry focuses will include intermodal traffic and cargo distribution; manufacturing and research facilities; commercial and office space; and film and TV production.
Contact: Louis Haddad, Alfred Zucaro
Link: wtcpalmbeach.com [EB5 Regional]