Foreign investors who backed real estate projects in return for U.S. visas are emerging as losers in the pandemic-driven commercial property crisis.
In Manhattan, Chinese investors who helped fund Related Cos.’ Hudson Yards have called for arbitration to pressure the developer into returning their money. On Long Island, a separate group assumed the lease to the Nassau Coliseum, after billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment decided to walk away from the project.
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The investors, who backed development deals through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ EB-5 program, aren’t the only ones getting hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept mall-goers, hotel guests and office workers home, pushing commercial-property owners into delinquency. But EB-5 investors, who cared more about coming to the U.S. than financial returns, have less leverage than most.