International Property

New York developer Moinian seeking foreign funding for Manhattan office project

Joseph Moinian is trying to raise up to US$500 million in so-called EB-5 funding that grants US residency in exchange for contributions

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 November, 2017, 8:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 November, 2017, 7:54pm

US property developer Joseph Moinian aims to raise as much as US$500 million of EB-5 funds – contributions from foreign nationals in exchange for legal US residency – to help him build a US$2 billion skyscraper New York’s western Manhattan area.

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

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

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

Moinian’s 53-storey 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. were 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.