Norfolk looks to lure foreign investors using federal visa program
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The city’s development arm is hoping to lure millions of dollars in foreign investment for Norfolk projects through a federal visa program.
The Economic Development Authority wants to attract money with the “EB-5” program, which allows foreign citizens to apply to become permanent U.S. residents if they invest $1 million or more in a new business that creates or preserves at least 10 jobs.
“The program’s been around for a long time, and it’s helped to fuel a lot of large-scale projects in other cities,” said Peter Chapman, a deputy city manager who’s also interim director of the authority.
The city and the authority would decide later which deals to seek investment for, but Chapman said they could include developments in the St. Paul’s area, on Granby Street or in Military Circle.
First, Norfolk needs to partner with a “regional center,” a usually private entity approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to broker EB-5 investments.