The 23-story building would house retail stores, a community center, a gymnasium, a health center, a preschool, offices and 143 apartments - 31 of which will be subsidized by PCDC.
"Affordable housing is part of this project," John Chin, PCDC executive director, said at a news conference. "We have the recreation center. We're actually extending the 10th Street commercial corridor beyond Vine Street. And it increases the residential base in Chinatown."
Andy Toy, the project's managing director at PCDC, said he believes the $75 million project is the largest community-development project ever in Philadelphia serving the needs of poor and low-income residents.
Ahsan Nasratullah, CEO of the Global City Regional Center, said foreign investors would need to put up $500,000 each. Under the EB-5 program, administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the investor could then obtain a conditional green card to live here with his or her family (including a spouse and dependent children) for up to two years.
The investment needs to create or preserve at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers within two years of the person's admission into the U.S. If successful, the person and his or her family could then apply to remain here permanently.
To raise $33 million, Nasratullah said, 66 investors are needed. So far, five possible investors are actively considering financing the project, since the center's website (globalcityeb5.us) went up a week ago, he said.
He hopes to secure financing for the project over the summer. From there, construction of the Eastern Tower building could begin this fall. The tower is estimated to take two years to complete.
Nasratullah and his wife, who are from Bangladesh, have connections there and in India.
PCDC is a limited partner in the Global City Regional Center, one of 440 such centers across the nation approved by USCIS.
The EB-5 program has its critics. Some say it's a way for rich foreigners to buy their way into the U.S.
To that, the Rev. Thomas Betz, board chairman of PCDC, said, "There ought to be a way for all people of the economic spectrum to come here if they can produce something for our country that's going to be valuable."
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