EB-5, Still Alive

The U.S. Congress is good for at least one thing: Not making a decision. Congress punted again to keep the program alive until April 28th, 2017. There is a bill on the table to bring about some changes, but we gone see.

Congress extended the EB-5 program until April 28, marking yet another short-term renewal of the controversial visa program.

The program, which grants foreign investors green cards after they invest at least $500,000 in job-producing ventures, was set to expire on Friday. EB-5 was included in the continuing resolution Congress passed.

Read Katherine Kallergis’s The Real Deal’s article here:
http://bit.ly/2hWEUzV

Brought to you by Miami International Business Attorney

EB-5 Scam Alleged in Palm Beach

The biggest question individual investors have about investing in the EB-5 Visa program is how safe is their investment. The unfortunate truth is, it depends. It is always best to work with people who have a track record in the EB-5 program before putting all that money at risk for a shot at the American Dream.

More than 50 Chinese and Iranian investors filed a lawsuit against the developers of the Palm House condo-hotel project, alleging they were defrauded out of $50 million.

The foreign nationals invested $500,000, each, into the Palm House development at 160 Royal Palm Way, the minimum amount required to be eligible for a visa through the EB-5 investor program. They are suing 33 defendants, including developer Robert Matthews and his wife Mia Matthews, brother Gerry Matthews, Ryan Black, Joseph Walsh and Joseph Walsh Jr.

Read Katherine Kallergis’s The Real Deal’s article here:
http://bit.ly/2eNENK4

Brought to you by Miami International Business Attorney

Need A Loan to Purchase U.S. Real Estate

The Cash only days are long over, and the old-fashioned banks are finally catching on. Hey, they have to figure out a way to make money too, right?

While the strong dollar and rising home prices have deterred many foreign buyers in South Florida and across the country, more are turning to nontra-ditional mortgages to finance their home purchases.

Foreign buyers often pay cash for residential real estate in the U.S. – a whopping 50 percent did so in 2015, according to the National Association of Real-tors. Large cash deposits have also fueled Miami’s latest condo boom.

Read Katherine Kallergis’s The Real Deal’s article here:
http://bit.ly/21VlkXl

Brought to you by Miami International Business Attorney

Do You Speak Mandarin? The Chinese Are Here

What do you get when you mix an insatiable appetite for expansion with a boatload of cash? China! Coming to a neighborhood near you.

With confidence in their hometown markets fading, Chinese investors are continuing to throw billions of dollars at United States real estate.

In the first half of this year, companies with Chinese backers accounted for $5 billion worth of U.S. real estate purchases, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Read Sean Stewart-Muniz’s The Real Deal article here:

Macy’s building near Lincoln Road quietly marketed for sale, could fetch $80M



Brought to you by Miami International Business Attorney

China Does Big Projects in Remote Regions

Every day you open the newspaper, it seems that you hear of some, new, audacious project which the Chinese are undertaking. Whether it be a canal across Nicaragua, and glass bottomed bridge across their Grand Canyon, or in this case, and entire city in the country of Georgia. Do not let it be said that the Chinese don’t think big.

It was a patch of modern urban China transplanted upon the Georgian countryside. Rolling, verdant hills abruptly gave way to the tight phalanx of identical ten story apartment blocks that sat on a perfectly aligned street grid, with a sturdy gate surrounding the perimeter. The exteriors of the buildings were decorated with heavily pronounced occidental facades — faux maroon bricks, ornately framed windows, and dozens of little rectangular balconies. It was the same scene I’ve looked upon thousands of times while wandering through the hinterlands of China’s cities, which wasn’t at all a coincidence: this new city in Georgia is 100% Chinese.

Hualing Tbilisi Sea New City is the name of this place. It is to be an all-inclusive, macro-planned intentional city in the previously undeveloped north of Georgia’s capital, right on the banks of the city’s massive reservoir. This new city is to have its own hospitals, schools, shopping malls, hotels, and the largest wholesale and retail trading center in the Caucasus, as well as row upon row of typical modern Chinese housing.

At the center of this emerging new urban expanse is the Hotels and Preference hotel — a giant five-star, blue glass monolith which features 250 of the best rooms in Tbilisi and the largest ballroom in the country. I met Tatia Sioridze and Giorgi Botchorishvili beneath the giant crystal chandelier that hovers above the hotel’s gargantuan lobby. They both work for the Hualing Group, the private Chinese enterprise that’s making this new city happen.

But why would a company from dusty Urumqi, in China’s far western Xinjiang province, have any interest in building a city in Tbilisi, 3,459 kilometers away?

The story goes that Mi Enhua, the founder and president of Hualing Group, fell in love with Georgia after visiting in 2007 to the extent that he wanted to help rebuild the country as it emerges from decades of post-Soviet turmoil.

“He just liked Georgia because of its scenery and good political and business environment,” Sioridze said. “So they decided to start developing their business here.”

Whether the reason behind Hualing’s origins in Georgia are perhaps a little more pragmatic than this is irrelevant, as the company is now the single largest investor in the country. Hualing has already pumped half a billion dollars into Georgia already, with an array of large-scale projects which include the Kutaisi Free Industrial Zone, various luxury hotels, a major wood harvesting operation, a booming wine export enterprise, a massive tea cultivation program, and 90% ownership of the once domestic Basisbank, in addition to the new city.

However, Hualing’s international operations are not exclusive to Georgia. Running flush with China’s “Going Out” policy, which encourages domestic companies to invest internationally, Hualing has extended its reach far beyond its native country, and now has an international portfolio which includes projects in the EU and the USA, in addition to Georgia.

The origins of Tbilisi Sea New City resulted from an interesting deal that the Georgian government made with Hualing. Needing additional infrastructure to host the 2015 Youth Olympics but not having the adequate funds to build it themselves, Georgia turned to Hualing. In exchange for building a “village” for the athletes to live in during the games, the Chinese company would be granted rights to sell the properties later on as well as develop 420 hectares of surrounding land for a new city. According to the Hualing representatives that I spoke with, it was a straight trade — no money was exchanged.

What was local reaction to a Chinese company building a new city in Georgia?

“At the start some people came with demonstrations, saying that China was invading Georgia,” Botchorishvili explained. “At first they were saying that a half million Chinese people would come to live here, but it was not correct information.”

According to the MOU that Hualing signed with the Georgian government, which covers all of their projects in the country, no less than 70% of their long-term workforce must be sourced locally. Currently, the company has exceeded this requirement, and over 80% of their workers are from Georgia — including much-sought middle and upper-level management positions, such as those held by Sioridze and Botchorishvili, who are both local Georgians.

Read Forbes article here:

http://bit.ly/2bbR7QG


Miami International Business Attorney

Venezuela is Part Nation/Part Disaster/All Tragedy

Obviously in Miami, I meet, know, and do business with a lot of Venezuelans. I’ve been reluctant to read anything about the country on the fear that the news will be bad. Well, even so, there are people doing business successfully in Venezuela, and Venezuelans finding opportunities outside of Venezuela. If you’d like to see how, don’t be shy about contacting us.

Venezuela’s President Maduro wants to raise oil prices to $70 – and fast. His plan, announced on Venezuelan television this week, is to somehow stabilize oil prices despite weak demand and near record production from Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Iran over the past several months. Maduro has a phone and he is using it (when the electricity works) to call every OPEC oil minister and some non-OPEC oil ministers to talk about cutting production. Not only is this strategy going to fail (the most important producing countries are not incentivized to freeze or cut production now), but Venezuela’s oil problems run much deeper.

Venezuela’s great paradox is that it holds the worlds’ largest known oil reserves yet cannot feed its own citizens or keep the lights on in its major cities. Riots around the country are laying bare the effects of corruption and decades of socialist policies. Venezuela’s oil production has been declining for years, going from 3.3 million barrels a day in 1997 to about 1.9 million barrels a day in 2016. Venezuela cannot afford to produce the oil it needs to sell. It costs approximately $18 to produce a barrel of oil in Venezuela, but not all of that cost is due to Chavez and Maduro’s policies. Most of Venezuela’s reserves consist of oil that is expensive to recover, making it less valuable (when still in the ground) and more difficult to exploit.

Venezuela became a major oil producer when easily recoverable oil was discovered in Lake Maracaibo in 1914. Venezuela knew it had heavy oil in the Orinoco Belt, but this oil is difficult and expensive to retrieve. In 2006, the national oil company started accessing it, meaning that Venezuela’s recoverable oil reserves rival Saudi Arabia’s. However, production from the Orinoco Belt is still extremely costly.

Oil production from tar sands is one of the more expensive forms of oil production today. The procedures used to extract oil from the tar sands are expensive. Moreover, once extracted, the heavy oil must be blended for most uses. When the average price of oil was in the upper $20/barrel range, Venezuela was losing money with each sale.

Read Forbes article here:

http://bit.ly/2bblzeH

All Aboard Miami: All Aboard

What do you get if you put Hitachi’s Japanese engineers, their counterparts from the Italian rail firm Ansaldo, a schoolgirl choir and the mayor of Miami together in the swamps of Florida?

A new metrorail system that Miami’s urban planners hope will bring commuting from the city to its ribbons of suburbs into the 21st century.

But behind the hoopla and celebration surrounding the $375m project unveiled last week is a serious effort to switch US commuters in a major regional city from overcrowded, inefficient and polluting dependence on cars to a model that resembles the European or Asian adoption of mass transit.

Miami, like many other cities across the US, is attempting to redress decades of under-investment in the sector. While cities such as Charlotte, San Diego and Dallas have been successful with the new light rail commuter-moving systems, other cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC, report falling rider numbers despite enormous and costly efforts by transportation officials to entice people out of their cars.

There have been other, unsuccessful attempts to build a light rail in Miami and other cities have run into issues with their own plans, but the engineers here are quietly optimistic that any incoming administration will increase infrastructure budgets, some of which would be targeted to mass transit.

Hillary Clinton has vowed to increase federal funding by $275bn over a five-year period, warning “it is not possible to remain economically competitive in a very, very competitive global economy if we don’t have the infrastructure we need”.

Here on the border of the Everglades, the gleaming new blue and silver cars look enticing: clean-running, silent, with free Wi-Fi and other enticements, but will they help turn the tide against Miami’s congested roadways?

The city’s construction boom has caused chaos on its roads. Coupled with fears that rising sea levels could begin to make tidal flooding more frequent, as well as the intermittent threat of hurricanes, have added to the incentive to overhaul its transportation systems.

For Hitachi, which now owns Italian manufacturer Ansaldo, is looking for deeper penetration in the US market. Current projects include a driverless system in Honolulu scheduled to open next year.

“We believe the rail business in the US is sustainable and growing because many cities have a mass transit system,” noted Kentaro Masai, head of Hitachi global rail. “We’ve already received support from the government, but were optimistic that ridership, especially among young people, will grow. There are challenges but we are optimistic.”

Read Edward Helmore, The Guardian article here:
http://read.bi/1TeIjts


Presented by Miami International Business Attorney

Haiti in Club Med Revival: Destination Haiti

Haiti in Club Med Revival: Destination Haiti

Lucio Garcia-Mansilla had long heard about the former Club Med property tucked along the Haitian Riviera, 123 acres lined with lush vegetation and a mile-long expanse of white sand.
But it wasn’t until decades later — when Haiti’s investment climate began to welcome international brands — that the Argentine founder of Colombia-based Decameron Hotels & Resorts would get there.

Read Jacqueline Charles’ article here:
http://hrld.us/1WCIo9d

Brought to you by Miami International Business Attorney

Turkey Spends Over $1M on its New, Miami Embassy. I Think They’ll Stay for Awhile

If you spend money in a place, it usually means you like it.  If you spend a lot of money in a place, it usually means you’ll be staying for a while.  With the new non-stop airline route from MIA to Ankarra, I think the Turks are getting comfortable in Miami.

Amicon Construction is putting the finishing touches on Turkey’s new Miami consulate. Turkish-born and U.S.-based Murat Mutlu designed the 7,500-square-foot space in the Brickell City Tower, at 80 Southwest Eighth Street.

The Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey’s new consulate features a modern, monochromatic design, and ballistic-rated glass, wall paneling and doors, Amicon project manager Jay Richmond told The Real Deal. He said the cost of the buildout was more than $1 million. It includes a reception area with multiple teller stations. “When you’re doing a high-security buildout, you’re dealing with materials from specialty manufacturers with long lead times,” Richmond said.

While the space opened in time for the Turkish election in November, the consulate is still tweaking finishes and has yet to hold a grand opening reception. Other tenants of the 33-story office building include Uber, Verizon, Lamex Agrifoods, Inlingua Language School, Chase Bank, Moye restaurant, the Beacon Council and the Consulate General of Japan.

Property records show that Banyan Street Capital owns the building. Danet Linares, vice chair of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, is the building’s exclusive leasing agent. Linares told TRD Brickell City Tower is currently 87 percent occupied with two new leases that will bring its occupancy up to 93 percent.

The Turkish consulate signed a 10-year lease about a year ago and moved into a temporary space in the building before the new office was ready. “Their space required a complete renovation,” Linares said. Amicon also built out the space of the French consulate in the Espirito Santo building nearby at 1395 Brickell Avenue.

Read Katherine Kallergis The Real Deal article here:

http://bit.ly/1QVwrLm

Presented by Miami International Business Attorney

 

Venezuelan strives for better U.S. relations

Maximilien Arvelaiz does not look or sound like a hardened socialist tactician going toe-to-toe with the U.S. government.

Instead of military garb emblazoned with medallions, the young Venezuelan diplomat wears designer suits and vintage glasses. His talk isn’t peppered with vitriolic attacks on Yankee imperialism, but with references to pop culture and U.S. television.

Yet Arvelaiz, 43, is at the center of one of the most acrimonious relationships in the Western Hemisphere. For the last year and a half, Arvelaiz has been working behind the scenes trying to re-establish a functional relationship with U.S. officials.

Read FRANCO ORDOÑEZ article here:
http://bit.ly/1OCxVrw

Brought to you by Miami International Business Attorney