What is a Regional Center?
A regional center is no more than a defined geographical area in the U.S within which a sponsor seeks to promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, the creation of new jobs, and increased domestic capital investment. The regional center can be as large as an entire state or as small as one square city block.
In developing and operating a designated regional center, the regional center seeks to exploit a specific use for its benefit and those of foreign investors. In doing so, the regional center ascertains the target market and demographic to which the regional center will deliver its services. The following is a sample of the uses that a regional center may chose in modeling its projects:
- Film & TV Production
- Health Services
- International Traffic & Cargo
- Manufacturing & Research
- Commercial Office Space
- Hotel, Leisure Resort
- Higher Education
- Trade Schools/ Culinary Schools
- Airport & Seaport Operations
- Technology and technology transfers
- Mixed Hotel, Office, Retail & Residential space
- Conference Centers & Exhibition space
- Light & Heavy manufacturing
- Cruise Line support
- Renovation of obsolete buildings
- Performing Arts
- Historical sites & similar Institutions
- Mixed use : Real Estate
- Construction and renovation
- Harbor facilities
- Gaming & Casino sector
- Marine Sector
- Apartments & Condominiums
- Air Cargo
- Banking/ Lending
- Warehouse Distribution
- Mining and exploration
Regional centers are presumed to require a $1 million investment per investor family, unless the project is situated in a Targeted Employment Area (‘TEA’). This ‘TEA’ can be located either in a rural area where the population is determined to be 20,000 or less, or, where the unemployment of the defined area is no less than 150% of the national average. For example, there are many resort projects which are located in mountain areas, where the local population did not exceed 20,000 in the last census count. Other projects may be situated in areas which are in need of rejuvenation and where the unemployment levels are high. Under either scenario, the Congressional intent is to provide and encourage the much needed economic activity and development to these often remote or blighted areas.
Sponsors of regional centers undertake a great deal of responsibilities to develop, manage, and complete the project. Their duties and obligations are incorporated in the parameters of documents known as the Private Placement Memorandum, Subscription Agreements, and Operating Agreements. These documents govern the conduct of the sponsor and the investor and must be strictly respected and abided by all policies. No document can be signed within the U.S. as the program is strictly designed for foreign nationals.