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EB-5 Investments in Distressed Properties


EB-5 Ivestments

While most EB-5 real estate projects include the development of new commercial property, distressed assets can also be acquired as part of an EB-5 project. Such properties might be appealing owing to their low purchase costs (as low as 25% of previous value) and considerable earnings from rental income and sales.


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The key condition of the EB-5 program is employment creation, whether investing in new construction or existing property. So, as long as a distressed property can be leveraged to produce the required number of employment, such an investment is possible.


Choosing the Best EB-5 Investment Property

Ten permanent, full-time U.S. employment must be generated for every EB-5 investor participating in a project, therefore the finest properties will remain unoccupied since they offer the most potential for providing jobs where none now exist.


Properties with tenants may be suitable for an EB-5 investment if there is enough unoccupied space to meet the required employment creation. Furthermore, an investor may be allowed to count current employment if the investment is in a failing firm and saves job losses—however, demonstrating such conditions to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is challenging.


In general, the greatest options are unoccupied industrial, commercial, and retail facilities selling for one-third to one-quarter of their previously assessed values.


EB-5 Investments in High-Need Industries (TEAs)

While the property itself is essential, so is the location of the property. This EB-5 investment strategy is most typically used in a targeted employment area (TEA), which is either rural or has higher-than-average unemployment rates. This is because the minimum investment amount for EB-5 investment in a TEA region is mere $800,000 per investor, compared to $1.05 million for non-TEA projects.


Developing an Effective EB-5 Business Plan

Aside from obtaining permanent residence status for each EB-5 investor, the fundamental purpose of this sort of EB-5 investment is to acquire low-cost property, attract new tenants, and then generate significant profits through rent collection and resale within five years.


Unlike the more common EB-5 construction projects, a project involving the purchase of a distressed property presents unique obstacles for developing a business plan because the property is being paid for, at least in part, using EB-5 financing. This is difficult since the financing required to purchase the distressed property is unavailable until the business plan is authorized by USCIS, yet the business plan and supporting documents (e.g., economic report) must be property specific.

The answer is to submit to the USCIS a sample real project that corresponds to the type of distressed properties being examined. Once authorized, EB-5 funding will be accessible, and any adjustments to the business plan depending on the specific property being acquired can be integrated (after the project is finished) into the investor’s I-829 file to demonstrate the minimum 10 jobs were created. The crucial point here is that the USCIS understands that project specifics may change during the development/implementation phase, therefore as long as the requisite 10 jobs per investment are reached at the I-829 stage, the investor’s I-829 petition will be authorized.

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