The re-development of the Brooklyn Navy Yard has received a boost from a federal program designed to raise capital for economic development projects in high unemployment areas.

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The New York City Regional Center has so far raised $60 million in an investment that will create 1,200 new jobs at the city-owned industrial park from 120 investors from China, Korea, Venezuela, Mexico and Argentina seeking to secure U.S. residency. The loan will allow the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Company to proceed with the $30 million Green Manufacturing Center, a 220,000-sq-ft, LEED Silver certified building. Construction began in June and is expected to take 18 months.

The NYCRC is providing the financing through EB-5, an employment, investment-based visa program, part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that sets aside 3,000 green cards each year. EB-5 allows a person and their immediate family to obtain a green card by investing $500,000 into a Regional Center project. Background checks on investors are first made to make sure that money invested was earned legally. Investors who obtain the visas will be repaid their original investment plus interest after an approximately five-year period.

Invested projects must create a minimum of ten jobs for U.S. workers in a Targeted Employment Area as designated by the New York State Department of Labor. The financing is the first in the Navy Yard for the privately run NYCRC, one of 70 regional centers designated by the UCIS across the country. Regional Centers have not been in New York until recently because there has not been a need for project investment in the city until now. The recession has brought about alternative ways to finding investors.

The New York State Senate Majority, the Empire State Development Corporation and the federal Economic Development Administration are also providing funding for the Green Manufacturing Center. The balance of the loan proceeds will be invested in additional job-creating industrial space and infrastructure improvements.

In addition to being a home for more than 30 green businesses, the BNYDC is implementing a series of sustainability initiatives that include the installation of the city’s first building-mounted wind turbines and wind-solar street lamps; investing in more than $200 million in adaptive reuse projects to renovate historic Navy-built buildings, using green technologies for renovations and maintenance and undertaking a major water/sewer project to upgrade the Navy Yard’s aging infrastructure and improve water conservation.

“Now more than ever, we have to find innovative ways to secure private investment and finance important infrastructure projects and Alan Fishman, BNYDC chairman, Andrew Kimball, BNYDC president and CEO and the BNYDC are doing just that through the EB-5 program,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber. “We’ve already pumped $140 million into the growing Navy Yard and this new infusion of capital will go a long way towards helping us complete its expansion.”

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