By the time the mid-2020s roll around, the Hudson Yards development will have completely upended New York City. Sixteen skyscrapers, one taller than the Empire State Building, will encompass more than 17 million square feet of new residential, commercial, and retail space. The mega-development will also feature two soon-to-be architectural stars along Manhattan’s West Side: a slick performing-arts venue dubbed the Culture Shed, designed by hot-shots Diller Scofidio + Renfro, along with Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel, a towering honeycomb stair-step pavilion.
At a total cost of $25 billion, the new heart of New York may be the biggest real-estate undertaking in American history. Hudson Yards is also a milestone for another reason: This city-within-a-city is likely to be the single greatest beneficiary of the EB-5 immigration program in the country. The developer for Hudson Yards, Related, raised more than $600 million in its first phase through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, which essentially allows foreign investors to trade capital for visas. Phase two is targeting another $600 million.
Here’s how EB-5 works: Foreigners who invest between $500,000 and $1 million in projects that create U.S.-based jobs are allowed to apply for permanent resident status for themselves and their families. Visa petitioners can invest the lower amount if they finance projects in rural or economically distressed areas. The idea behind the program is to help spur job-creation in places that desperately need investment.