Brunner: Real Estate Investment is Hedge against Inflation Risk
Angel Brunner is the CEO and Founder of EB5 Capital, a $ 800 million commercial real estate company with nearly 30 projects in the United States. The company has attracted foreign investors from 70 countries around the world, including Nigeria. In this interview, she talks about various immigration and investment opportunities that EB5 Capital offers Nigerians. Hamid Ayodeji brings the excerpts:
Can you describe the company and its services for those who have not yet met EB5 Capital?
For many years I worked in finance in Washington, DC, and I noticed that many Washington, DC inner-city neighborhoods, largely populated by the black community, have not been rebuilt due to a lack of institutional funding. When I discovered that the EB-5 Investor Immigrant Program was a means of providing development and employment for many of these communities, I decided to start EB5 Capital. Today, more than a decade later, we have stayed true to our mission by funding $ 800 million for various commercial real estate projects in the United States through the investment of nearly 1,600 overseas families from 70 countries including Nigeria and other African countries. EB5 Capital is a commercial real estate investment firm in Washington, DC that offers qualified investors from around the world the opportunity to invest in commercial real estate, obtain permanent residence in the USA (green cards) and obtain second passports. such as the Grenada Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program.
Given some of the challenges facing blacks in America, why should an African investor invest in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program?
There is no country in the world without its challenges; surely we have ours in the United States. I often try to remind those who ask that the US is a relatively young nation and is facing the growing pain of a country still suffering the collateral damage of the “original sin” of slavery. Our youth, combined with our one-to-one economy, educational opportunities and the diversity of people give me hope that we will overcome these challenges. They are also precisely the reasons why so many of our current and past customers still see the promise in the idea of the American Dream, even if we have not yet fully arrived.
How can potential clients from Nigeria specifically benefit from an investment in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and the Grenada Citizenship by Investment (CBI)?
Nigerian families looking to move to the US permanently can invest the required investment amount of $ 900,000 and apply for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Our team found that the End SARS movement and COVID-19 pandemic have increased interest among Nigerian citizens in overseas residency programs because they want a backup plan for their families. The EB-5 visa allows Nigerians to live and work anywhere in the US and qualify for lower tuition fees at some of the world’s best colleges and universities. There are attractive business opportunities for entrepreneurs in the US, and of course EB-5 also allows the investor to apply for US citizenship after five years. We are proud to have supported numerous Nigerians in their resettlement efforts through the EB-5 program. If the EB-5 doesn’t fit properly but there is still a desire for a second passport, Grenada’s CBI program is a more cost-effective alternative to EB-5. Starting at $ 150,000, the Grenada CBI offers applicants a strong passport for visa-free travel to most of the world, including China. The turnaround time for Grenada citizenship is also fairly quick, within three to four months. One of the top reasons to motivate Nigerian citizens to invest in the Grenadier Pass is the Grenadier’s access to the E-2 Investor Contract Visa, which allows them to easily live and work in the United States.
What if someone wants to invest in real estate but is not necessarily interested in permanent U.S. residency or citizenship in Grenada?
Our team manages a private equity real estate fund separate from our immigration offerings. Nigerians who are looking to diversify their wealth and seek access to exclusive offers in the US, while also seeking returns in line with the market, may be eligible for our private equity platform. Our fund structure can suit investors looking to make a large investment or starting with the minimum required of $ 100,000. With the devaluation of the naira, investing in U.S. real estate, especially multi-family apartments that are doing well historically, is a method of inflation hedge, protection and capital growth.
Traditionally, many Nigerians who invest in the Caribbean go through the St. Kitts program. How is the Grenada CBI different from St. Kitts?
Grenada is the only Caribbean country with a CBI program whose citizens are eligible to apply for the US E-2 visa. As mentioned earlier, the E-2 visa allows an investor to live and do business in the US and can usually be applied for within three to four months. The E-2 Visa has an unlimited number of renewals and can be converted into an EB-5 Green Card over time. Grenada also offers visa-free travel to China. We know that St. Kitts is traditionally more popular in Nigeria, but the Grenada CBI program is a more comprehensive package and is just less well known in Nigeria.
Are there any restrictions on the number of people or family members that can be included in the EB-5 and Grenada CBI applications?
The EB-5 application includes the investor, their spouse and children under the age of 21. The Grenada CBI application includes the investor, their spouse, unmarried children aged 30 and under, and the investor’s parents and unmarried siblings.
How successful was EB5 Capital in executing EB-5? Have there been any heroic deeds so far?
As every business owner knows, running a business is always fraught with a number of challenges. I am proud to say that our selective approach and high standards have made us one of the most successful players in the industry. In our 13 years at EB-5, we have funded projects that have resulted in an aggregate development of more than $ 3.5 billion. We have maintained a 100 percent project approval rate for our investments and no investor has received a rejection based on their project selection. It’s a difficult record. In terms of our investor diversity, we have attracted investors from over 70 countries including Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa. We are also proud to have Nigerian investors who have completed their entire investment cycle, which means they received their green cards and got their full investment back from us.
What happens if someone is denied a US Green Card after their EB-5 investment?
If an investor receives a denial of their green card application, it is likely that either the US government determined that the $ 900,000 investment was not legitimately received, or that the project encountered some problems and not those has created the necessary jobs. These are two of the main reasons a rejection would occur. It is important that Nigerians work with experienced US immigration attorneys who understand how to document the “source and path” of the $ 900,000. Working with a company that has funded and monitored the development of many successful EB-5 projects in the past is also critical to the project.
How did your company exceed repayments to its EB-5 investors of over $ 100 million last year?
This was an important milestone in the past year. After an investor has held a green card for two years, the investor can get their original investment back if the real estate project has been successfully built and refinanced or sold. Across our portfolio, more than $ 100 million has been repaid to our investors and each of our project repayments has been made within the expected investment timeframe.