3 Palms opening at Dublin’s Bridge Park in spring 2017

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Crawford Hoying on April 20 announced it has added 3 Palms Pizzeria and Bakery to its list of tenants at Bridge Park.

3 Palms will join Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ The Avenue, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery and Mesh Fitness.

“Our vision for Bridge Park is to create an engaging mixed-use destination unlike anything else in the marketplace,” Crawford Hoying principal Brent Crawford said in the announcement.

The 3 Palms at Bridge Park will be the brand’s third location. The initial 3 Palms opened in Hudson in 2012, and the Crocker Park restaurant in Westlake is under construction and will open later this summer, according to the announcement.

3 Palms, named after an ancient unit of measurement used by stone workers and tradesmen throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, uses a wood-burning oven to cook its Neapolitan pizzas in 90 seconds.

3 Palms is expected to open its Bridge Park location in spring 2017 and occupy 3,531 square feet of space along the west side of the Scioto River, feature an expansive outdoor patio. The restaurant is situated to provide views of the new walking bridge spanning the Scotio River and 12-acre riverfront park. In total, the restaurant will accommodate just over 100 guests and employ more than 50 new 3 Palms team members, according to the announcement.

“We are focused on building 3 Palms into a regional powerhouse,” company principal Michael Schwartz said in the announcement. “The addition of our Bridge Park location is an integral step toward accomplishing that goal. This location is reflective of our intent to align ourselves with environments and communities that care as much about the details as we do. Clearly, both Bridge Park and the City of Dublin fit that description.”

EB-5 business plan matrix

I’m preparing for a webinar next week that will discuss “What goes into an EB-5 business plan?” This is a good question, and depends on the further questions “What does the business plan need to accomplish?” and “In what context will the business plan be used?” The following matrix helps visualize the goals and contexts that can affect EB-5 business plan content.

bpmatrix

People who talk about EB-5 plans tend to focus on just one quadrant – 1A, positive standards for success in USCIS review – and especially on Matter of Ho-compliance. But if you study examples of EB-5 plans gone wrong (AAO denial decisions, lawsuits, unfunded projects), you know that it’s not enough to simply follow the business plan definition in the EB-5 precedent decision Matter of Ho. A plan can be beautifully detailed, covering all the Matter of Ho points from business description down to income projections, but still fail USCIS review due to inconsistencies with external evidence or to mismatch with program requirements (for example describing an enterprise that isn’t “new” or jobs that aren’t “qualifying” as defined by the EB-5 regulations). A perfunctory, formulaic business plan written to satisfy bare minimum requirements can pass USCIS review, but that document will never reach USCIS if it needs to and fails to attract investors. USCIS won’t table a plan for being an ungainly document, or ignore it because the proposal isn’t sufficiently appealing, or cite it in a lawsuit for being misleading. Investors may well do all those things. In my documents detailing direct and regional center EB-5 business plan standards (linked from my Business Plans page), I consider factors in each quadrant of the above matrix of goals and contexts. Investor review is not always an issue (not all investors look to the EB-5 business plan to introduce the business), and review outside USCIS takes different forms depending on the advisors involved. But it’s generally wise to look beyond the Matter of Ho box when writing or reviewing an EB-5 business plan.

Nine New Food Halls to Get Excited About in 2016

This dining trend isn’t going anywhere

The American food hall boom is showing no signs of slowing anytime soon. Well-established in trend-setting cities like New York and LA, these multifaceted culinary marketplaces are spreading like wildfire to major metropolitan areas such as Denver, Dallas, Detroit, and Austin, and even Ohio and Alabama. Some are akin to fancy food courts, while others incorporate more of a market feel with plenty of retail —€” but all rely heavily on local chefs and food artisans to create communal drinking and dining spaces.

The announcement of a brand-new food hall might elicit eye-rolling in some; but the concept is definitely here to stay.

While the nearly 10 new halls that have been announced in the past eight months serve to further prove the trend’s got legs, work continues on several previously-announced projects. Perhaps the most anticipated of them all is Bourdain Market, the global street food marketplace culinary explorer Anthony Bourdain is bringing to Manhattan. It now officially has a home (the gigantic Pier 57 development in Chelsea) and has announced some details about confirmed vendors (an eclectic lineup that will include everyone from a Mexican tostada vendor to April Bloomfield). In Portland, Oregon, Pine Street Market is gearing up for an April 1 debut with everything from an Israeli restaurant to a soft-serve ice cream bar by the beloved Salt & Straw. And in Detroit, the forthcoming shipping container project known as Detroit ShipYard has found a site in the Cass Corridor and is aiming for a July opening with five restaurant concepts and two bars.

But as tends to happen with any trend approaching ubiquity, the mere mention of the phrase “food hall” can now elicit eye-rolling in some. (Once a trend reaches Birmingham, Alabama, does that mean New Yorkers must be totally over it?) Some have argued that food halls, with their many dining options squeezed into one space, somehow diminish the dining experience by homogenizing it. But regardless of how you feel about them, it’s clear that food halls are here to stay — and particularly in cities that aren’t already saturated by the trend, locals are pumped for their arrival.

Here now, a look at new food halls that have been announced over the past six months:

AUSTIN

Fareground

Location: 111 Congress St., Downtown
Projected Opening: Spring 2017

Designed by restaurant architect Michael Hsu, Austin’s first-ever food hall will invade the lobby of a high-rise office building with a concept modeled after New York’s Gotham West Market. The only confirmed vendor for now is popular beer garden and bakery Easy Tiger; six more local restaurant concepts are expected to join the fray, and there will be indoor and outdoor seating to cater to lunch, happy hour, and dinner crowds.

Rendering: Courtesy of Fareground

BALTIMORE

R. House

Location: 301 W. 29th St., Remington
Projected Opening: Fall 2016

With a little imagination and a lot of cash, a 50,000-square-foot historic auto showroom is being transformed into Baltimore’s first food hall. R. House will be home to 10 different culinary concepts from established local chefs, plus a central bar serving craft cocktails, beer, and wine. The first concept to be confirmed is chef Dave Sherman’s breakfast spot Ground & Griddled, which will serve Stumptown coffee and made-to-order egg sandwiches. A rotating pop-up stall will offer an opportunity for chefs both local and visiting to test out new concepts short-term.

Rendering: Courtesy of PI.KL

BIRMINGHAM

Pizitz Food Hall

Location: 1821 2nd Ave. N., Downtown
Projected Opening: Fall 2016

The food hall trend reaches Alabama with the impending opening of Pizitz Food Hall, a revamp of a downtown department store dating back to 1923. Plans are for two full-service restaurants, an outdoor seating and entertainment area, and an interior bar, along with several food stalls. Confirmed tenants so far include local roaster Domestique Coffee; paleta and ice cream vendor Lichita’s; an Asian dumpling concept; an independent cheese shop that will also serve sandwiches; a Korean restaurant specializing in bibimbap; and a traditional Ethiopian restaurant with communal dining.

Rendering: Courtesy of Bayer Properties

DALLAS

Uptown Urban Market

Location: 2600 Cedar Springs Rd., Uptown
Projected Opening: June 2016

The food hall trend is finally poised to sweep into Dallas this spring with Uptown Urban Market, taking over a 7,000-square-foot restaurant space on the ground floor of a residential building in trendy Uptown. The brainchild of seasoned real estate developer Jonathan Tobolowsky and experienced restaurateur Mark Brezinski, expect eight food stalls housing a variety of original concepts from established local chefs and restaurateurs including a speakeasy-type bar, a coffee shop, a fresh juice counter, sushi, pizza, and tacos. Indoor seating and a spacious patio will provide seating, but the focus will be on grab-and-go.

Rendering: Courtesy of UUM

DENVER

The Central Market

Location: 2669 Larimer St., RiNo
Projected Opening: Spring 2016

Chef Jeff Osaka and developer Ken Wolf are transforming a historic 1920s building into a 12,000-square-foot food hall housing 13 vendors. Confirmed tenants are coffee shop Crema Bodega, ice cream company High Point Creamery, a central cocktail bar called Curio, cheese and charcuterie bar Culture Meat & Cheese, Izzio Bakery, COCO Chocolates, fresh juice/produce vendor Green Seed, fresh pasta and pizza-focused Vero, a fish market, a butcher that also serves sandwiches, and SK Provisions, featuring rotisserie meats and prepared foods. Chef Justin Brunson of Old Major fame is also creating a new concept for the space.

Photo: The Central Market/Facebook

Stanley Marketplace

Location: 2501 Dallas St., Aurora
Projected Opening: Summer 2016

Another historic building is being revived as a food hall in the Denver suburb of Aurora; in this case, it’s a 1950s aviation production facility sprawling 100,000 square feet. Situated on a 22-acre park, it will feature somewhere in the ballpark of 50 independent local businesses, including six restaurants, a beer garden, and a gourmet grocer. Confirmed vendors include a stationary version of food truck Rolling Smoke BBQ, Mexican street food spot Comida, New York-style deli and bagel shop Rosenberg’s, Denver Biscuit Company, and microbrewery Casita Brewing Company.

Photo: Facebook/Stanley Marketplace

LOS ANGELES

Proud Bird

Location: 11022 Aviation Blvd., Westchester
Projected Opening: End of 2016

Southern California is no stranger to food halls (see: Grand Central Market and the newer 4th Street Market in Santa Ana, among others) and here comes another one: Proud Bird, a restaurant near Los Angeles International Airport, is being transformed into a 50,000-square-foot food hall. No confirmed vendors as of yet, but expect an area dedicated to food by Proud Bird in addition to an eclectic array of food and beverage kiosks, plus a full bar and communal dining and lounge areas. Hurry up and wait, because renovations on the space just began in February and are slated to take 10 months.

Photo: Proud Bird/Facebook

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH

Van Aken District Food Hall

Location: Shaker Heights, Ohio
Projected Opening: Fall 2017

Situated roughly 10 miles outside Cleveland, Shaker Heights has unveiled grand redevelopment plans, turning the downtown Van Aken District into a modern, walkable mixed-use development with restaurants, indie retailers, luxury apartments, and yes, a 20,000-square-foot food hall. Detroit watchmaker Shinola may seem an unusual choice of anchor for a food hall, but the rest of the tenants will be decidedly more edible: A mix of restaurants and artisan makers will include Rising Star Coffee and two new concepts from the owners of local favorite Luna Bakery, plus at least nine more stalls from local chefs and entrepreneurs yet to be announced.

Photo: Van Aken District/Facebook

WASHINGTON, DC

Isabella Eatery

Location: 2001 International Dr., McLean, VA
Projected Opening: Summer 2017

The mall food court will never be the same: DC chef and Top Chef alum Mike Isabella is taking over a 40,000-square-foot space on the third floor of swanky shopping center Tysons Galleria, located 15 miles outside DC. Per Eater DC, 10 different dining options will include several established Isabella concepts: Namely, Graffiato (Italian), Kapnos (Mediterranean), Pepita (Mexican), Yona (noodles), and Requin (raw seafood). New ventures in the food hall will be Arroz (Spanish tapas), Octagon (cocktails), Trim (grilled meats), and Non-Fiction Coffee, as well as an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.

EB-5 visa backlog increases to 5 years as 113% increase in applications

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The number of applications for the controversial investments-for-visas program EB-5 visa climbed to just under 17,791 in 2015, up from just over 11,744 in 2014 and 6,554 in 2013, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The EB-5 program grants visas to investors who contribute at least $500,000 to projects in the U.S. that employ 10 workers or more, with a preference for areas with high unemployment, reported the Real Deal Magazine.

A total of 21,988 applications were pending at the end of 2015, at least a five year backlog for most investors, who usually seek several visas for family members, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, the backlog is for Chinese applicants only. Applicants from India are not affected, as yet.

The surge was fueled in part by concerns that key features of the program wouldn’t be renewed by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Immigration Fund’s Nicholas Mastroianni II told the paper.

Demand has slowed since the program was extended without changes in December, he told the paper.

The program has been criticized for funding major, high-profile projects such as Hudson Yards, Pacific Park, Michael Shvo’s 125 Greenwich Street through a provision that allows developers to draw special districts with high average unemployment to take advantage of extra benefits.

Senators have also questioned whether the jobs created by the program might have been created just the same without it. About 80 percent of the visas issued to date have gone to Chinese investors, Real Deal reported.

(The post has been updated with a clarification, on April 5, 2016).

2015 Visa Statistics by Country

2015visastats
China continues to be dominating the EB-5 investors market, Vietnam has replaced South Korea; With total only 272 visas (approx. 70 families) for Vietnamese, the market in Vietnam is still tiny in comparison to Chinese market. Any mid and large size projects that are seeking significant numbers of investors, China is still the right place for seeking capital. India and Russia are still too small and make not much difference from previous years. According to the stats, Latin American market needs a few more years to grow.