124 W.MICHIGAN AVENUE - 9th FLOOR
LANSING, MI 48933
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Randy Hannan
Tuesday,May 25, 2010 517/256-7633
City of Lansing Wins International Business Investment Zone Designation
EB-5 Regional Center Gives Lansing Competitive Edge in Attracting NewForeign Investment
(LANSING)-- Mayor Virg Bernero and the Lansing Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) today announced that the City of Lansing has been designated as an EB-5 Regional Center by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Mayor Bernero said the coveted designation empowers Lansing to attract and leverage foreign investment that will help grow the city's economy and create new jobs. Lansing is just the third such designation in the state and one of only 93 EB-5 Regional Centers in the nation.
"Our designation as an EB-5 Regional Center is another feather in the cap of our efforts to grow and diversify Lansing's economy," Mayor Bernero said. "With this powerful new tool, we will be able to attract international investment in key sectors of our local economy, and that will result in more growth and more jobs for Lansing residents."
The Lansing EB-5 designation, tentatively called the International Business Investment Zone (IBIZ), will encompass the entire city and focus on financing economic development projects in targeted sectors that include information technology, bioscience, advanced manufacturing and higher education. Under the federal EB-5program, a foreign national who invests $500,000 or more in a Lansing business or project that creates a minimum of ten direct or indirect jobs becomes eligible for permanent residency in the United States.
LEDC President and CEO Bob Trezise said an IBIZ Investment Fund Board will be established under the LEDC and international marketing efforts will begin. The IBIZ board will also work in partnership with the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) and their new Lansing Regional InternationalTrade Center, as well as the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP).
"This is another home run for our regional business community," said Tim Daman, President and CEO of the LRCC. "Mayor Bernero and the Chamber share a vision of transforming the Lansing region into an economic powerhouse with global reach. The EB-5 program is a perfect companion to our successful efforts to designate Capital Region International Airport as a U.S. CustomsPort of Entry and Foreign Trade Zone."
LEAP Presidentand CEO Denyse Ferguson said the city's EB-5 status will make the Lansing region an even more compelling location to start a new business. "When you add together all of the tremendous assets that already make our region a great place to live and work, the EB-5 Regional Center sends a strong signal to the rest of the world that Lansing, Michigan is open for business," Ferguson said.
Trezise noted that the EB-5 designation could help Lansing businesses break through the persistent credit crunch that has stalled many new projects. "At a time when it is very difficult for local economic development projects to get traditional bank financing, the EB-5 program opens up an exciting new option for moving these projects forward," Trezise said. "We thank the Department of Homeland Security for their partnership and their confidence in the City of Lansing and the LEDC. We will put an effective model in place that will successfully attract foreign investment and create jobs right here in Lansing."