EB5 Investors Magazine Volume 2 Issue 2 | Page 40


The EB-5 Attorney at the

Crossroads of Law and Marketing

by H . Ronald Klasko
When I first started representing real estate developers and other businesses seeking EB-5 capital , I viewed my role as limited to preparing USCIS petitions that were approvable under prevailing EB-5 law and policy . I had nothing to do with the marketing of the project because , after all , I am a lawyer and not a marketer . It was only after gaining experience working with many clients that I realized that a legally approvable project template does no good if investors will not be interested in investing . Clients , with good reason , look to EB-5 attorneys not just for legal advice , but also for advice on structuring a project that will both comply with EB-5 policy and attract investors .
Now I find myself regularly advising clients that even though a project is perfectly legal and approvable , it can be difficult or impossible to market . Advice on the investor marketplace is a necessary adjunct of the legal advice that I provide . This article will explore issues that I discuss with my clients when providing legal services , and might be considered value-added marketing services . My comments are based mostly on the China market , where 81 percent of all EB-5 investors originate .
Project basics
Let ’ s start with some of the basics . It is usually very difficult to find investors interested in $ 1 million investments , therefore , ensuring that the project is in a targeted employment area ( TEA ) is often step one of the analysis . Equally obvious is that an approved exemplar petition is a huge marketing advantage , though it must be discussed in detail whether the marketing advantage is worth the long wait for exemplar approval . As a practical matter , most successfully marketed projects do not have an approved exemplar , so this step is not necessarily required .
The next key marketing consideration is location ; projects in certain cities are likely to be more marketable than others . New York , Los Angeles and San Francisco are at the head of the list ; however , good projects in areas such as Florida , Texas , Philadelphia , Washington , D . C ., Seattle , Phoenix and Vermont can also be highly marketable . Likewise , industry is a determining factor ; projects in the hotel , health care , mixeduse commercial / residential and other real estate based industries have typically been favored . Beyond the concrete facts , the reputations and past histories of the parties involved – the regional center , the developer , the lawyers , the economist – are important to the receptivity of the project , especially in the Chinese market .
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