EB-5 Investment Report Interviews Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Murrieta, Rick Gibbs.

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Aimee Rios interviews Mayor Pro Tem of the city of Murrieta, Rick Gibbs. He talks about the city's proactive approach to finding money for projects in this economy through foreign investment and the EB-5 program.

Rick Gibbs

Rick Gibbs, Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem for the city of Murrieta

A recent delegation from China was so impressed with Murrieta’s Mira Mesa High School that they are now working on a sister school relationship that would work like a foreign exchange program for students.

Rick Gibbs, Councilman and mayor pro tem for the city of Murrieta says the EB-5 program is a natural match for Murrieta as a resource for funding projects that once languished in the recession. The city is home to a few EB-5 projects including a new shopping center that is completely funded by EB-5 investments.

Gibbs says, “Olivewood Retail Plaza is literally a stone’s throw from City Hall, it’s right across the street… one of the tenants is a specialty market and they’ve already hired 56 employees.”
The city of Murrieta worked closely with American Redevelopment Solutions, a regional center in Irvine, to bring this project to fruition. Another project Murrieta is seeking funding for through ARS is the Murrieta Education Center. Recently Gibbs went to China to help recruit investors for the center. He said, “The trip was two weeks in duration, we made presentations in 4 different cities to investor groups, anywhere from 25 to 100 people. We had a number of investors who signed up on the spot.”

Murrieta’s proactive approach to finding money for projects in this economy has fostered a close relationship with the Shaoxing county of China. The city recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the county focusing on economic development, trade and education. A recent delegation from China was so impressed with Murrieta’s Mira Mesa High School that they are now working on a sister school relationship that would work like a foreign exchange program for students.

When it comes to EB-5 investors, most think the goal is green card, but Gibbs says, that’s not always the case. ” What you need to understand about EB-5 is most of the people in countries from around the world…generally aren’t looking to reside in the U.S. permanently. What they’re looking for is the opportunity to have their family come to the United States and their kids getting a University education in the United States.”

Gibbs attributes this to the fact that some investors sign up on the spot, while others, those who are more interested in a green card, and a capital return, take the time to do their due diligence.

And investors aren’t the only ones doing due diligence. Gibbs said that it’s just as important for the city to make sure the regional center they are working with has a good track record and they have had no concerns with the two regional centers they are associated with, USACRC and ARS.

Although a majority of EB-5 investors come from China, Murrieta is open to pursuing funds from other countries and are currently seeking investors in Saudi Arabia although there are no plans for a briefing trip yet.

With the EB-5 program as a resource and Murrieta’s proactive approach to economic development, Gibbs said, “The sky’s the limit in bringing investment capital into the United States and providing jobs for U.S. citizens.”

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Dwight Cromie

Bill Friedl
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