Riviera Beach's waterfront seeks foreign cash
By WILLIE HOWARD
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
RIVIERA BEACH — The city's Community Redevelopment Agency is banking that foreign investors will boost yacht-related businesses and bring jobs to the waterfront.
On Wednesday, the city council sitting as the CRA board approved 4-1 a six-month, $36,000 contract with Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, whose principals include immigration attorney Al Zucaro.
Councilman Shelby Lowe cast the dissenting vote, saying he wanted to wait until next month, when the CRA is expected to have clearer plans for rebuilding the city marina.
Zucaro said his company is certified through the Department of Homeland Security to participate in the EB-5 program, through which foreign investors and their family members can become residents of the United States and eventually apply for citizenship by investing in domestic companies that create jobs.
Councilwoman Billie Brooks noted that the $6,000-a-month contract with Palm Beach Investment and Finance can be canceled at any time and is a low-risk way to attract capital that could draw employers into the city.
Council Chairwoman Dawn Pardo said she has been looking for ways to provide incentives for companies to move to Riviera Beach.
"I look at this as a first step in the quest for providing incentives," Pardo said. "I'm willing to take the six-month risk."
Pardo mentioned the "megayacht mile" along the Intracoastal Waterway from Blue Heron Boulevard south into West Palm Beach that would include service facilities for big yachts through Viking Yacht Co. and Rybovich & Sons Boat Works.
During the next six months, Palm Beach Investment and Finance plans to post Riviera Beach as a destination for EB-5 investment on its Web site and identify marine-related companies that could be recruited.