I recently spoke with Patrick Hogan, the president of CMB Export, a successful regional center in California that invests in infrastructure projects within the state’s recently closed military bases. I knew that Mr. Hogan was a successful businessman long before he created a regional center, so I wanted to ask him how he got the idea for CMB Export. For example, why did he decide on California? Why former military bases?
I felt that the answer he gave shed light on the strengths of CMB as a regional center, and I wanted to share it. Here was his reply:
The idea of creating a regional center in California was born from several basic concepts.
- Even though a EB-5 investor can live anywhere in the U.S., regardless of where they invest, I wanted it to be in a region of the country that was considered a “destination”—in other words, a place people would know about and want to relocate to.
- I wanted a project the government would want to say yes to. It is important to have all levels of government wanting to assist your business enterprise. The local, county, state and federal governments were involved with the closed military bases of California. All levels of government wanted to see the former military bases acclimated and integrated back into the communities.
- Because of the closure of the bases, there would be high unemployment. Tens of thousands of jobs were lost. This high unemployment allowed our investors to only place the $500,000 instead of the one million in the investment.
- The former military bases were fertile ground for private development. They had airport runways, buildings, and other assets that were easily converted to civilian use. I felt businesses would want to come, invest and take advantage of the existing assets and thus create jobs.
- I felt investing with government agencies or master base developers would be a relatively “safe” investment in that they had the power of bonding, tax increment revenues, outright state and federal grants, as well as other income sources to pay our investors back. This strategy has resulted in a relatively safe investment that meets the “at risk” requirement of the EB-5 program with the USCIS.