Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 by Joyce Joyce McMullin in Press Releases
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Southbank, Catalytic Fund working with EB-5 Regional Center


A pair of Northern Kentucky economic development organizations – Southbank Partners and The Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky – are teaming up with The Bluegrass International Fund (BiF) to attract foreign investment into 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. “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 to promote 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.”  



Jack Moreland, President

Southbank Partners



About the EB-5 Program

The Immigrant Investor Program, known as EB-5, was created by the US Congress in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through capital investment by foreign investors.  Regional Centers attract foreign investment into job-creating projects in designated geographic regions in the US.  BiF brings the benefits of the EB-5 Visa Program to Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Since its creation, the Program has produced more than 85,000 full-time American jobs and contributed $5 Billion to US GDP.  Regional center projects must be approved by the U.S. government and the main criteria is that each investor’s contribution will create ten full-time permanent jobs for U.S. workers.

About Southbank Partners

Southbank Partners is a coalition of government, business and community leaders in the Northern Kentucky Ohio River cities of Bellevue, Covington, Dayton, Ludlow, Newport and Fort Thomas. It serves as a community and economic development organization that coordinates activity with the cities that lie along Northern Kentucky's bank of the Ohio River. Our purpose is to help the cities in any way we can, but especially through promoting and coordinating development activities, fostering teamwork and collaboration, and providing a unified voice for the partner cities in advocating common positions to state and federal governments, as well as to other communities. For more information visit www.SouthbankPartners.com

About the Catalytic Fund

The Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky (the Catalytic Fund) is a private sector, not for profit organization providing financing assistance and related services for developers of quality residential and commercial real estate projects in Northern Kentucky’s urban cities of Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, and Dayton (Target Area Cities).  Its mission is to accelerate Northern Kentucky’s urban renaissance though targeted investments in catalytic real estate development and redevelopment projects in urban neighborhoods.  The organization was initiated by Vision 2015 to implement its Urban Renaissance initiative, one of the organization’s “Power of Six” focus areas critical to regional economic competitiveness. The Catalytic Fund addresses the need for patient capital to support construction and/or rehabilitation of market rate housing and mixed-use real estate projects that are essential to the revitalization and repopulation of our urban communities.  These projects and their sponsors are typically outside both private and public financing programs and traditional financial institutions are not flexible enough to provide these projects with sufficient capital.  The Catalytic Fund provides capital via a $10,000,000 investment fund to fill gaps between traditionally underwritten loans, developer’s equity, and project costs.  Although the Catalytic Fund expects its capital to be returned, it can be patient and flexible allowing time for the project to succeed.

 About Bluegrass International Fund

BiF’s founders and board members are Mike Mountjoy, Louisville, Founder and Chair of Mountjoy Chilton Medley and current Chair of The Gheens Foundation; Barrett Nichols, Louisville, Founder and CEO of BSG Financial Group and board member of the James Graham Brown Foundation; Lynn Allen, Louisville, Founder and CEO of Capital Innovations and advisory board member of Accelerating Appalachia and the Purdue Emerging Innovations Fund; Brad Cowgill, Lexington, President of SmartClaim and Pixar Financial Services, and former Budget Director for Kentucky; Steve Graves, Lexington, founder and principal of Murphy + Graves + Trimble, PLLC, a leading architectural firm in Lexington;  Michael Grisanti, Louisville, founder of Casa Grisanti restaurants and co-founder of the largest franchise developer of Papa John’s Pizza; Bobby Owens, Lexington, a divisional president with an international insurance brokerage firm; Brad Ray, Louisville, managing director of BTR Advisory Services, retired CEO and Chairman of Steel Technologies, and board member Bellarmine University; and Vince Tyra, Louisville, President of ISCO Industries.