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Southbank, Catalytic Fund Seek Foreign Investment in River Cities

Southbank Partners and the Catalytic Fund have teamed up with the Bluegrass International Fund to attract foreign investment to the state and region.

Frankfort-based BiF has been approved to operate as an EB-5 Regional Center by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Created by the US Congress in 1992, EB-5 Regional Centers can provide low-cost financing for qualified projects that generate a significant number of new jobs through foreign investment.  BiF was established in January 2014 to attract foreign investments for real estate projects in Kentucky and Southern Indiana that spur jobs and economic growth.

Lynn Allen, CEO of BiF, said approval of BiF as an EB-5 Regional Center gives it the green light to offer attractive financing for projects in Kentucky, including Northern Kentucky.

“Northern Kentucky has an abundance of assets, including attractive real estate development projects that will spur new jobs and economic growth” Allen said in a news release. “BiF looks forward to working with Southbank Partners and The Catalytic Fund to provide meaningful capital that will help make the goals of Vision 2015 a reality and contribute to the enormous potential of the Northern Kentucky region.”

Southbank Partners President Jack Moreland said the EB-5 designation is a proven method of attracting new jobs and investment into communities.

“Southbank has been interested in EB-5 for quite a while because we have such tremendous economic development opportunities in Northern Kentucky,” Moreland said. “And we know that when presented those opportunities, foreign investors will be interested.”

Partnering with Bluegrass International Fund brings both a connectivity to the rest of the Commonwealth from a policy perspective and also a level of professionalism that will allow Northern Kentucky to access top tier international investors, said Catalytic Fund President and CEO Jeanne Schroer. 

"The Catalytic Fund is looking forward to working with Southbank Partners to offer an additional financing resource in Northern Kentucky to execute quality projects that contribute to our region's economic development and quality of life,” said Schroer said. “This will certainly accelerate the positive momentum we are currently experiencing and enable us to assist larger projects wth high potential for employment and population growth.

“The addition of EB-5 to our economic development toolbox,” she said, “will diversify our funding sources and make us more able to respond to large scale job-creating projects in need of financing.”

Allen called EB-5 a new “tool in the toolbox” designed topromote economic growth on a large scale.  “Our projects will be projects with a total price tag of at least $30 Million.  Our minimum loan will be $10 Million but our sweet spot is even larger projects that cost anywhere from $60 Million to $300 Million and for which we can provide loans in the $20-$60 Million range.”   

-Staff report

Photo via Southbank