Chinese investment could kick-start Pflugerville office construction

Nov 14, 2014
Community Impact

The Pflugerville Community Development Corporation on Nov. 6 discussed a project to potentially bring $15 million in Chinese investor money to Pflugerville to help kick-start construction of office buildings at 130 Commerce Center, a burgeoning Pflugerville business park

If all goes to plan, Pflugerville could get two new class-A office buildings, the PCDC could get a financial windfall and more than two dozen Chinese investors and their immediate families could receive green cards, PCDC Executive Director Floyd Akers said

The deal, called “Project Great Wall,” hinges on the PCDC’s use of EB-5 investor money, which is money coming from an immigrant investor; in this case, it is a group of Chinese investors

Akers traveled to China in September as part of a Texas economic development mission headed by Gov. Rick Perry

The U.S. government created the EB-5 investment program in the early 1990s to spur foreign investment and stimulate the economy. EB-5 investors must satisfy a number of government requirements such as creating at least 10 jobs and risking a certain amount of money, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Richard Gump, a Dallas-based attorney specializing in immigration and nationality law, said EB-5 investment has ballooned in recent years. Much of the investment, he said, is coming from China

Each EB-5 investor must risk $1 million, or if the investment is being used in a “targeted employment area,” the investment can be $500,000. A TEA is a rural or high-unemployment area, according to the USCIS. Akers said the 130 Commerce Center has been designated a TEA, and the PCDC will be working to expand Pflugerville’s TEA along SH 130

Akers said 30 Chinese EB-5 investors are investing $500,000 each—a total of $15 million—to help construct two 60,000 square foot office towers at 130 Commerce Center

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