Business Courier by James Ritchie, Staff Reporter
Monday, February 27, 2012
Investor interest in a revitalization of Cincinnati’s Short Vine Street is high, according to one of the leaders of a project to boost the languishing part of Corryville.
The Cincinnati-based Midwest EB5 Regional Center is seeking to raise $20 million from would-be immigrant investors for the work. One component of the redevelopment is a planned University of Cincinnati technology accelerator to help startup firms, as the Business Courier reported Friday.
The EB5 program, administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, gives foreigners and their families a fast track to permanent U.S. Residency in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in a venture that creates 10 or more jobs.
The center has raised $10 million for Short Vine so far and probably could have more, said Terry Chan, its president. But he is pacing the fundraising efforts so that the investment doesn’t get oo far ahead of the work- or job creation.
The money so far has come from Chinese investors, who have been keen to obtain visas and have their children attend U.S. Schools.
The government issued 3,463 EB5 visas to investors and their immediate family members in fiscal 2011. That was up from 1,885 in 2010.
The Short Vine project team, including Chan and his father-in-law, Martin “Mop” Angiulli, are looking to revamp Short Vine with restaurants, bars and retail, office and residential space. The street near the University of Cincinnati was once a one-time nightlife hub but has been deteriorating for years.
So far the project has created between 20 and 30 direct or indirect jobs, Chan said.
The UC Technology Commercialization Accelerator, to open in early summer, is starting with $500,000 for the Midwest EB5 Regional Center and $250,000 from UC. It’s designed to spin innovations developed on campus into commercially viable products. It will enlist experts, such as local venture capitalist, angel investors and commercialization specialists, to help.
Nearly 220 EB5 centers are operating across the country.