Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Developers & tweeders gerrymander for visas

From the NY Times:

Affluent foreigners are rushing to take advantage of a federal immigration program that offers them the chance to obtain a green card in return for investing in construction projects in the United States. With credit tight, the program has unexpectedly turned into a mainstay for the financing of these projects in New York, California, Texas and other states.

The number of foreign applicants, each of whom must invest at least $500,000 in a project, has nearly quadrupled in the last two years, to more than 3,800 in the 2011 fiscal year, officials said. Demand has grown so fast that the Obama administration, which is championing the program, is seeking to streamline the application process.

Still, some critics of the program have described it as an improper use of the immigration system to spur economic development — a cash-for-visas scheme. And an examination of the program by The New York Times suggests that in New York, developers and state officials are stretching the rules to qualify projects for this foreign financing.

These developers are often relying on gerrymandering techniques to create development zones that are supposedly in areas of high unemployment — and thus eligible for special concessions — but actually are in prosperous ones, according to federal and state records.


Missing Foundation said...

There are so many problems here I don't know were to start.

This is simply appalling.

What is worse, what don't we know?

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to America First?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting - I wonder exactly how much this has to do with the continued inflated value of real estate in Manhattan (and parts of Brooklyn) where in the rest of America (including Queens) its another story.

SO top 1% foreigners will own land in NYC but only top 1% Americans will be able to rent/buy it. If (say) the Chinese economy goes bust, American banks will take ownership of all that land.

Instead of trying to fan the flames of anti-foreigner sentiment though - I'd wager the ones with the most to gain are big real estate guys (who profit when land values remain inflated) and the banks. Some (not all) of this foreign investment is surely coming from people who won't be able to keep up payments for their investments.

If this keeps up, Manhattan will become like an urban version of landed estates, one person inhabiting large land parcels and all the riff raff swept away.

Anonymous said...

Just what we need more construction projects. Until the DOB does what they were meant to do, that is enforce the Building Code and the Zoning Regulations, there should be no more NBs.

There is an abundance of vacant storefronts, office buildings and condos. Why do we want more empty buildings?

Anonymous said...

Sort of explains how people like Rockrose, who got their start by being friends to the Shah of Iran, are financing developments that are displacing American citizens in Long Island City .... right across the river from the United Nations.