NYC Builder Seeks Millions From Foreigners in Money-for-Residency Swap

  • Project near Hudson Yards is still without an anchor tenant
  • Developer switched leasing brokers to Jones Lang LaSalle team

Developer Joseph Moinian aims to raise as much as $500 million of EB-5 funds -- contributions from foreign nationals in exchange for legal U.S. residency -- to help him build a $2 billion skyscraper on Manhattan’s far west side.

At a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the office project, 3 Hudson Boulevard, Moinian said he’s in the midst of the paperwork involved in lining up EB-5 investors, who may come from China or India. The federal program, designed to grant legal residency to foreigners who provide a minimum of $500,000 for job-creating U.S. business ventures, has so far been dominated by Chinese investors.

3 Hudson Boulevard, center, in this artist’s rendering

Source: Joseph Moinian

“We don’t have a number of EB-5 investors committed,” said Moinian, who is seeking at least $250 million from the program. “You can say we’re at the beginning” of the process.

The program has been popular with New York builders seeking financing for expensive projects. Related Cos. has raised EB-5 funds to support its $25 billion Hudson Yards development, operating its own center in China to attract investors.

Moinian’s 53-story project has conspicuously been unable to attract an anchor tenant, while Related has drawn such companies as Time Warner Inc., KKR & Co. and BlackRock Inc. to Hudson Yards skyscrapers just to the south. Recent press reports have said investment bank Morgan Stanley and drug-maker Pfizer Inc. are looking at other towers on the far west side.

In the past few weeks, Moinian changed leasing brokers for his project, bringing in a team from Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. led by Peter Riguardi, the New York tri-state region president, and Vice Chairman Mitchell Konsker to replace a team from Avison Young Inc. Riguardi said Jones Lang would not only help find a company to anchor the tower, but also locate equity partners, or work out an arrangement where a company could own its office space while helping to pay for construction costs.

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