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Do you need a visa to come to the United States? Consider investing in Rochester projects developers can’t fund on their own.

Eager to help build student housing for the University of Rochester, the mayor is asking city council to approve a $900,000 loan for The Flats. It would be a $20 million high rise apartment building on the riverfront.

That’s up from the $750,000 city loan the mayor originally proposed to finance the project. The city would get money for the loan in part from the sale of property on Lattimore to the  U of R.

Here’s the kicker. City council legislation revealed the developer plans to get $12 million in funding from EB-5 visas. The Democrat and Chronicle explains how it works:

The program, possibly being used for the first time in Rochester, is one of several employer-based immigration options. It gives preference to these foreign investors, though other programs give higher favor to immigrants with special or unique job skills.

Immigrants invest at least $500,000 in a new or troubled U.S. venture that generates 10 new jobs, or in a regional center (Buffalo has one). They are granted conditional permanent residence for two years and then can petition for full citizenship.

This could be a very good project for the 19th Ward and the city. But the complicated nature of this deal and others shows how terribly hard it is to get anything financed and built in this town.

Something else in the legislation stood out. City council is being asked to approve the $900,000 loan on short notice to meet the “2013 deadline required” by the U of R. If the college wanted this so badly, why not put its own money into the deal? On both sides of the river now, city taxpayers are on the hook for big college development deals. And the deals are getting more complicated.

7 Responses to Calling All Immigrants With Money

  1. May 18, 2012 at 11:02 am James Simons responds:

    I am as big a supporter of the Universities in this town as anyone else. They do a tremendous amount for this community. However, the more that these type of deals happen the more I begin to question the taxpayer’s role in it all. You’re telling me the U of R with its massive endowment can’t use that as collateral with a bank to secure loans for these projects without putting taxpayer money at risk?

  2. May 18, 2012 at 11:02 am James responds:

    If not for U of R, where else is future significant growth going to come from in Rochester?

  3. May 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    why not do something like this for MCC where more of the students are local instead of a expensive exclusive university where most of the students are from out of town. why not so something for the people who live here for a change.

  4. May 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm Eduardo Ricardo responds:

    University’s (UR) are not the economic engines as much as they are cracked up to be. if so, then why are the raising their rates/tuition?

  5. May 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm Greg B responds:

    the is no such thing a city money. its YOUR money.

    Great to see projects to invest in Rochester, lets keep doing it, but as for U of R, dont they have billions in endowment…like 100B? you cant get a loan on your own? c’mon people!!

  6. Pingback: Cities Luring Immigrants » The Rochesterian

  7. July 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    it is like 1900 all over again we have the robber baron bankers, and just like the turn of the century cheap immigriant labor is needed. the republicans want to repeal child labor laws. is this a return to the supposed good old days . that were only good for the wealthy just like today.

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