The Past is Prologue (Speculation!)

Past is prologue or how you get a few million to fix up Water St and sell your soul

So The City of Racine knows that we do not have the funds to do everything needed to fix the Root River and the area around it. The Millions coming are a welcome start but IMHO just a small part of the Millions needed say 10 Million and then some. One of the  major issues is how to fix up Water St from its sad state that it is now and do something about the Four Buildings in the area of Water and Marquette St.

The current owner who owns them is running at least 2 active businesses an Aquaponic Farm an indoor track for Motor Cycles  and two large storage areas.  My guess after talking to the owner is A) He is not a willing Seller and B) Why has the Mayor not visited the Aquaponic Farm after repeated invites.  So for the City to obtain the buildings would be hard.

I think the Owner would love to work with the City in a TIF project but I have no idea what the City thinks of this so what is a City to do…..


I know! (Speculation) what Communist  Country has a foot in the Door in the County and looking for a Sister City deal with Racine that the City is all for?

But first more Background!

“SAN JOSE, Calif. – Even as China emerges as a super power, many of those who have benefited most from the country’s economic rise are heading for the exits.

“The rich people are trying to get green cards,” said Ta-lin Hsu, founder and chairman of Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm H&Q Asia Pacific, who spends a lot of time in Asia. He is frequently asked by business associates about how to immigrate to the United States.

“The main reason is, they still worry about the future stability of China,” Hsu said. “The U.S. is a democracy; there is freedom, and it’s a safer place.”

The exit door for many of these wealthy Chinese is opened by the fast-track visas America offers for well-heeled immigrants. Known as the EB-5, the visa requires applicants to invest $500,000 in projects in economically struggling regions or $1 million in a commercial venture in other locations. The investments must create or preserve 10 jobs for two years. If successful, the applicants and their families – spouses and children younger than 21 – are awarded permanent residency.

The foreign money is a welcome source of funding for many projects.

Oakland, Calif., city officials, for example, have eyed the program to help pay for a project that includes hotels, a convention center, shops and new facilities for the Raiders football team and Warriors basketball team and possibly a new A’s ballpark.”


and from the Racine Post 1/28/10

Mayor John Dickert’s meeting with representatives from Sheyang, China in December ended with a request from the Chinese delegation. “We’ll see you in the spring – in China,” Dickert recalled them saying.

The invitation, which was also part expectation, was a sign of the speed at which Sheyang business and government leaders are hoping to build ties with the Racine community. The China SINB group, led by Wanming Chi, bought 54 acres of land in Mount Pleasant to build a 600,000 square-foot Eco-Business Park. The land cost $850,000.

Dickert said in a recent interview that he’s attempting to put together a Racine delegation of business leaders and government officials to visit Sheyang, though nothing is definite at this point. Cost is a factor, he said, but business leaders have offered to help pay for the trip. Sheyang is located along the Yellow Sea about 150 miles north of Shanghai.

Dickert said traveling to China could result in business deals for local companies. He’s also hoping to present development opportunities in Racine to investors.

Chinese companies have made a push into southeastern Wisconsin in recent months. The BizTimes reported last week that Wanming was one of a handful of Chinese businessmen to purchase property in the Milwaukee-Racine area in 2009. The story also provided interesting background about Wanming and his connection to the Racine area:

The driving force behind SINB North America is Wanming Chi, the president and chairman of the board of SINB Group Co. Ltd. The company does business in manufacturing (particularly structural steel fabrication), real estate development, port construction, financial investment and international trade.

After the U.S. real estate market collapsed and the economy plunged into a deep recession, Chi became interested in investing in the United States because he saw an opportunity to do so at a discount.

Chi’s business relationship with William Osborne, the president and chief executive officer of Racine-based LGO Global Sourcing LLC, led him to Racine County. LGO assists American businesses with outsourcing manufacturing operations. The company has two China offices in Jiangsu and Beijing. Osborne makes 8 to 10 trips a year to China.

Racine’s Sister City Committee has begun to explore a relationship with Sheyang, which, despite a population of over 1 million people, is still considered a mid-sized Chinese city, Dickert said.

The mayor and the Chinese delegation signed an agreement to consider talking about a Sister City arrangement.
Al Guetzlaff, chairman of Racine’s Sister City Committee, described the two cities as being in the “dating/courting process.”
Any relationship with Sheyang likely will differ from Racine’s other Sister Cities because of the economic incentives underlying the partnership, Guetzlaff said. While the U.S. has a history of treating Sister Cities as “citizen diplomacy,” the Chinese Sister City organizations are based in business and more like our Chamber of Commerce, Guetzlaff said.
Based on his experience working with Racine’s six Sister Cities – four which are active – Guetzlaff said Racine needs to find a local resident who can “carry the torch” of a Sister City relationship with Sheyang, he said. Wanming’s emerging business connections in the Racine area may be the connection needed to seal the Sister City bond, he said.
Guetzlaff also said customs and traditions will come into play on the cross-cultural exchange. For example, the Chinese can be insulted if you do not thoroughly examine a business card they give you.
“There are protocol things that are very important,” Guetzlaff said. “Just like when you’re courting, there are traditions you need to be aware of.”
The part to pay close attention to is:
…”Any relationship with Sheyang likely will differ from Racine’s other Sister Cities because of the economic incentives underlying the partnership, Guetzlaff said. While the U.S. has a history of treating Sister Cities as “citizen diplomacy,” the Chinese Sister City organizations are based in business and more like our Chamber of Commerce, Guetzlaff said.”
A Company from the PRC owns raw land in the County now and how hard might it be for another to open a Money bag and buy or go into joint venture (My Guess would be Joint Venture) with many of the businesses on Water St and jointly to to a TIF to have the City help fix up the Streets/ Sewers that would need to be repaired? Perhaps even we could see China dredging the River/Lake.
There  is a lot of money in China looking for investment and land here is cheep. This will be interesting to follow up on with the City.


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