Home Back Issues April 2011 Asian investors eye Oregon properties, green cards

Asian investors eye Oregon properties, green cards

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Articles - April 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
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Asian investors eye Oregon properties, green cards
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By the numbers
BY BEN JACKLET

0411_AsianMoney_01Wilson Chen looks out the window of Suite 820 of the Portland skyscraper his company owns and smiles. “This was the first big deal that we had in the U.S.,” he says. “It was an unforgettable event for us. We put a lot of money into this building. We are taking good care of it.”

As if on cue, a window washer belays down to spray liquid onto the glass and wipe it clean, and Chen laughs for the first time of the interview.

Chen came to Oregon from China with $3,000 to his name 17 years ago. Then he was a poor graduate student. Today he is the president of the company that owns Portland’s iconic KOIN Center, along with five hotels in San Francisco and a huge soybean oil factory and a five-star oceanside resort in his hometown of Shantou in Guangdong Province.

Chen’s buying spree as president and CEO of Portland-based American Pacific International Capital was made possible by the recession. But it is not over now that the recession has passed, because the money he represents — direct foreign investment from Asia and especially China — is growing exponentially. The soft-spoken former hydrologist plans to buy more buildings this summer as another wave of troubled properties washes back to the banks. He is also positioning himself to make prosperous use of a once obscure but now red-hot government program that enables foreigners to earn “green cards,” signifying lawful permanent residency, by investing directly in new or troubled U.S. companies and creating American jobs.

The federal EB-5 program, as it is known, already has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars from Chinese investors into Vermont ski resorts, Hollywood hotels and Seattle real estate. Soon it could be financing woody biomass projects in struggling Oregon timber towns, adult-care facilities on the Oregon Coast, massive urban redevelopment projects in Portland and even the long-stalled Columbia River Crossing bridge project.

During the period in which Chen went from being a broke grad student in Corvallis analyzing watershed run-off to a well connected financier snapping up hotels and factories, China evolved from a nation of potential to one of destiny: the world’s second-largest economy, the U.S. government’s largest creditor and Oregon’s top trading partner. As China’s powerful economic growth continues, Chinese investors with newfound wealth are moving into the U.S. economy at a rate not seen since Japan’s golden era in the 1980s.

“We’ve got an opportunity now,” says Tim McCabe, director of Business Oregon, the state’s economic development arm. “There are a lot of investors in China, and a lot of money… We’re seeing a lot more activity, and this is just getting started.”

 



 

Comments   

 
China Man
0 #1 ChinaChina Man 2011-03-28 14:50:27
Yup. Won't be long CHINA will own the whole USA.
Opps, they do now..

Why doesn't our government step in and help the people of the USA..Instead of offering deals to other countries. Ya Right
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Karen Williams
0 #2 Karen Williams, Carroll Community Investments LLCKaren Williams 2011-04-01 17:15:59
Mr. Jacklet gives us too much credit! John Carroll, Bill McCrae and I been privileged to participate in projects we care about, all of which took the efforts of many talented people. Community development is complex and rewarding work, but above all else, it's teamwork. While we hope we were able to make meaningful contributions, the projects got done because of the creativity and leadership of many people from the public and private sectors.
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Rick Waible
0 #3 Hey China Man with the comment on 3-28Rick Waible 2011-04-20 07:12:03
I was born and raised right here on Oregon. I have served in the US Army and am as patriotic as it gets.....to a point. The US has changed to a culture of sissy laws where we cannot discipline our children or we lose them, our kids are living in a world of sloth habits, most playing video games and not building tree forts and having rock fights. The boy in a bubble race that sues for gain rather than getting up and working for a living. The handout free money every week to buy alcohol, junk food, and depression meds is sitting back and making a population of garbage humans. I say if China can come from poverty/3rd world conditons, and its population is working its way to wealth, and they want to spend it here on assets we were too stupid to hold....go for it China, it seems the US is going to need a sugar daddy.
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