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EB-5 Program Reauthorized

The EB-5 Program is Reauthorized

President Biden signed legislation today with the effect that the EB-5 program is reauthorized, in particular its Regional Center component, effective now through September 30, 2027.  The program is part of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (the “Act”), which itself is part of the Omnibus spending bill signed by the President.

 

The reauthorization of the Regional Center program follows an almost 9 month lapse, when prior efforts failed to extend the program beyond July 1, 2021.  The Regional Centers aspect of EB-5 have allowed foreign investors a special opportunity to invest in high-profile developments that they likely would not otherwise find accessible.  The EB-5 program had its controversies and numerous parties had worked to place safeguards to prevent fraud and encourage investment in areas that followed from the original intent of the program.

 

The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to invest a specified amount of capital into a U.S. enterprise that creates American jobs, in return for permanent residency.  With passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, changes were made to the program to presumably improve its implementation.  The new legislation emphasizes compliance with EB-5’s intent along with enforcement procedures.   Program sponsors under EB-5 will face greater scrutiny in recordkeeping, investment types, audits, and investor communications.   The minimum EB-5 investment amount now increases to $800,000 from the current $500,000 for Targeted Employment Areas and Rural Areas,  and, changes to $1.05 million from the current $1.0 million for Non-Targeted Employment Areas.  These changed minimum investments apply to both regional center and direct EB-5 investments.

 

With the news that the EB-5 Program is reauthorized, a backload of foreign investors who were in the midst of processing last June, will hopefully soon see progress in the processing of their investment / visa applications.

 

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program was created in 1990 by the Immigration Act of 1990.

GoBOLD Adventures

New Adventure Recreation Company Launches

Sustainable Environment Associates (SEAS) and Adventure Entertainment Cos. have launched GoBOLD Adventures™, an adventure recreation design-builder, and operator.   As the new adventure recreation company launches, GoBOLD is focused on new locations in several formats, from all-new destination facilities to augmentation of quality existing venues.

 

The convergence of these companies provides the comprehensive expertise in developing and operating adventure destinations. GoBOLD Adventures is comprised of international experts in multiple disciplines specializing in creating unique “bucket list” destinations.   GoBOLD’s projects range from scenic natural destinations in the U.S., to national and regional parks, remote island resorts, and jungle or desert glamping.

 

The two companies each brings an extensive capability in outdoor recreation and facility operations.   SEAS is associated with Pangaeon, through the leadership of international adventure recreation specialist, Paul Bierman-Lytle.   The Adventure Entertainment Cos. LLC are an owned affiliate of StoneCreek Partners LLC.  GoBOLD Adventures (GoBOLD Adventures.com) brings the development and facility management experiences of the two companies  within one operating organization.

 

The GoBOLD Adventures website includes information about the company’s locations and career opportunities.   As the new adventure recreation company launches, the company’s senior management intends a focus on expansion of the senior management and local rep teams for select global regions.

 

 

The 15-Minute City concept gains tracking.

The 15-Minute City Concept Gains Traction

The-15-Minute City concept is gaining traction around the world as a placemaking tactic and means to enhance quality of life.   Although “city” is used in this coined term, this planning concept is more about a focus on livable neighborhoods and districts.

 

The “15-minute city” is a term for urban design and master planning wherein it is possible to meet the basic “needs of living” within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from a person’s home.  The needs of living include such services and amenities as:

 

  • Places of work, or, at least a coworking venue;
  • Grocers;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Schools for children, youth;
  • Health care or medical facilities, or simply, doctor and dentist offices;
  • Recreation, leisure and/or green spaces; at least a pocket or linear park;
  • Cultural venues;
  • Mass transit accessibility;
  • Affordable housing is assumed;
  • Flexible zoning to allow places with different day-part uses, such as local school facility that can be a community gathering place at night or on weekends; and
  • Places of worship are seldom mentioned as part of the 15-Minute City concept, but such places may be among the most successful community-building forces that have existed.

 

 

The planning term was first coined by by Prof. Carlos Moreno, a professor at Sorbonne University (Paris, France).  Prof. Moreno is the director of entrepreneurship and innovation at The Sorbonne.  Though popularized by the professor, the 15-Minute City concept itself  has been explored in major cities throughout the world from Melbourne to Portland, prior to its burgeoning popularity as an planning concept.

 

During 2020, the 15-Minute City concept has surged in interest as a sturdy planning concept alongside the increasing acceptance of coworking facilities and communities.   Coworking venues situated in close proximity to homes simply adds an additional destination within a 15-minute “neighborhood” that is vital within a 15-minute radii.

 

The 15-Minute City concept is a multi-faceted placemaking tactic.

Another aspect of making the 15-Minute City concept workable is the presence of affordable housing within each 15-Minute City cluster.  Many neighborhoods and districts around the world may work well for most required services and work places, but do not have the array of housing choices necessary.

 

Integrating the 15-Minute City concept with allied planning concepts is particularly interesting to local governments charged with numerous quality of life objectives and economic development initiatives.   A 15-Minute City imperative, as an example, is also deemed helpful in reducing the use of fossil fuels (vehicles), fighting carbon emissions, and thereby fighting climate change.  Also, applying the 15-Minute City thresholds of accessibility also advances the objectives for some groups in reversing local zoning codes to allow increased affordable housing options and thereby, more diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

 

The 15-Minute City concept has created such interest that purpose-built apps have been created to evaluate any particular location for 15-Minute City thresholds. Here Technologies (Eindhoven, Netherlands) is one such company that has created this kind of threshold’s map to answer the question – Do You Live in a 15-Minute City? We expect that the 15-Minute City parameters and software applications that track such notions, will join similar concepts as a niche investment asset class among those pursuing environmental, social, and governmental investments (so-called ESG Investing).

REI's New Product Impact Standards

REI’s New Product Impact Standards

REI’s new Product Impact Standards for 2021, now include diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements for companies wanting REI shelf space.   The standards include the retailer’s core requirements as well as optional preferred attributes.   REI is an American retail and outdoor recreation services corporation, organized as a consumers’ co-operative.  The retailer sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment, and clothing, as well as outdoor-oriented experiences, recreation activities, and courses.

 

Back in 2018, REI had originally devised its product standards to focus on ethical production practices and sustainability.  As part of this update, REI has also added two new programs to its list of preferred attributes—a collection of voluntary business certifications that vendor brands are encouraged to pursue, such as for certifications for aspects of climate and environmental stewardship, chemicals management, and animal welfare.

 

REI’s product impact standards are part of the emerging interest among global investors to evaluate environmental, social and governance issues (so called ESG Investing) when investing and operating.   REI’s dedication to sustainable and ethical production, diversity, equity, and inclusion are precisely what ESG Investing seeks to encourage.

 

According to an article by SNEWS, the outdoor recreation retailer consulted with brands of various sizes and product categories, as well as with more than a dozen DEI nonprofits, advocates, and ambassadors.   The advice from such third-parties included feasibility considerations.  SNEW is an outdoor industry publication of Pocket Outdoor Media Inc.

 

The full December 9, 2020 article by SNEWS is available at this link, along with with reference to the full document describing these REI standards:  REI holds vendors accountable for climate and DEI practices with new product standards

Rep. Haaland Nominated to Lead Interior Dept.

Rep. Haaland Nominated for Interior Department

Rep. Haaland is nominated to lead the Interior Department.   With Senate confirmation, Rep. Haaland will become the first Native American to serve as Cabinet secretary.

 

President-elect Joe Biden nominated Rep. Debra Haaland to helm the U.S. Department of the Interior, a federal agency forever linked with the history of Native Americans since the nation’s founding.   The Albuquerque Journal has reported that Haaland’s nomination reflects Biden’s commitment to address the historical mistreatment of Native Americans including violations of treaty obligations.

 

The Interior Department administers roughly 500 million acres of public lands and plays a key policy role on tribal issues.   In her role, Rep. Debra Haaland’s Interior Department will oversee two key tribal offices – the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) and the Bureau of Indian Education.  The U.S. Interior Department was first established in 1849, actually established after the BIA was first established in 1824 – the oldest agency within the Department of the Interior.

 

Rep. Haaland is a Laguna Pueblo member and is well-known for her leadership roles in tribal government, administration, and economic development programs and enterprises.  Laguna Pueblo is a federally-recognized tribe of Native American Pueblo people situated to the west of metro Albuquerque, New Mexico.   The Laguna Pueblo tribal reservation includes approximately 500,000 acres of land situated in Cibola, Valencia, Bernalillo and Sandoval counties.

 

A full article regarding U.S. Rep. Haaland being nominated to lead the Interior Department, is available at the Albuquerque Journal:  Haaland gets historic Cabinet nomination

 

 

Rep. Haaland is Nominated to Lead the Interior Department

The U.S. Interior Department administers roughly 500 million acres of public lands, involving a myriad of environmental, energy, and public access issues and concerns.

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