WEALTHY SOUTH AFRICANS CAN INVEST IN ICONIC ‘SURF CLUB’ HOTEL TO SECURE GREEN CARDS
Specialist EB-5 visa provider, LCR Capital, offers HNWs access to prime USA real estate fund
Acquiring a USA green card and permanent residency through the EB-5 visa programme – an increasingly popular United States Citizenship and Immigration administered (USCIS) initiative that enables foreign investors and their immediate families to obtain American green cards by investing $500,000 in businesses or real estate projects – is gaining traction among wealthy South Africans, especially as more attractive investment funds become available locally.
Among the most recent is the ‘Surf Club’ Four Seasons Hotel. The iconic 1930s prime Miami property – that in its heyday was frequented by Grace Kelly, Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra – will reopen in March 2017 after undergoing a highly anticipated refurbishment of its original structure. Developers are seeking to raise $100-million from 200 foreign investors to transform the 9 acre historic site into a 77-key hotel, two 12 story residential towers, 12 penthouses and 40 beach cabanas and is being exclusively offered by private equity firm and EB-5 specialists, LCR Capital.
Designed by Pritzer Prize-winning architect, Richard Meier, the hotel will also feature two restaurants by Michelin star chefs Thomas Keller and Antonio Sersale of Positano’s famed Le Sirenuse as well as a spa, the shop Les Ateliers and the Turkish home-goods boutique, Haremlique.
“EB-5 investments have backed many high profile real estate projects all over America,” says Rogelio Caceres, co-founder of LCR Capital. “EB-5 capital from China breathed new life into Las Vegas, pumping millions into the SLS Hotel & Casino project for instance and also injected $50 million to part finance Trump Bay Street, a 50 story luxury rental apartment development, which is managed by President Trump’s son-in-law’s business, Kushner Companies.
“The addition of Surf Club Four Seasons Hotel to our existing portfolio of EB-5 funds in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) sector through the Dunkin’ Donuts brand affords HNW South Africans access to the creation of 9,800 jobs (over 40 per investor). This punches well above the minimum of 10 full time American jobs that EB-5 investors must create to secure their green cards.”
74 percent of the Surf Club Four Seasons’ residences have already been sold, making the $1,2-billion project sell-out the largest single project sell-out in Florida history.
Even though The Surf Club renovation is almost complete it is still possible for EB-5 investors to partake in backing the project and get credit for the job creation because the project started with interim or bridge financing. Caceres explains, “The USCIS allows a project to raise EB-5 capital to replace bridge financing and have the job creation count towards investors’ EB-5 requirements. The EB-5 loan will be the only debt on the project at funding and will have 3x collateral coverage in order to protect the EB-5 investor. The collateral is equity in the Four Seasons Hotel and Condominiums.”
Popular since the 1990s among Chinese, Brazilian, Indian and, most recently, South African investors, the EB-5 programme affords high net worth and ultra-high net worths the opportunity to immigrate permanently to the U.S. to retire or set up a business, enable their children to study at top American universities at local rates or secure a second passport and the assurances that come with that.
Since 2013 around 100 South Africans have taken advantage of the EB-5 programme and have since either permanently immigrated to the USA to retire or set up business interests, or stay at home and become dual residents.
“Since opening our South African office in August 2016 we have offered the EB-5 programme to a number of f local HNWs seeking dual citizenship or immigration to the USA. There is definitely an appetite for this type of opportunity among South Africans – be it as a hedge or security for their families – and we’re pleased to announce the diversification of our portfolio to include the prestigious Four Seasons hotel brand.”
The EB-5 visa process takes between 16 and 18 months whereafter a temporary green card is granted for the investor and their immediate family. Permanent residency is granted within five years and the initial capital is returned, with interest. Visit www.lcrcapital.co.za for information.