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Foreign Investments Help Develop Clarksville's Former Colgate Factory

Business is stirring in the former Colgate factory in Clarksville, Indiana, and it’s partly thanks to foreign investments that have contributed to development of the Clarks Landing Project at the site.The first tenant for the redeveloped factory has been announced, and more companies are currently in negotiation to fill the one-million square foot space.Carton Croft Corp. is a cardboard box manufacturer that has become the first business to occupy the building since 2007, said Jay Sheth with Boston Development Group. Since BDG bought the property for around $4 million, conversations and negotiations have been in the works, he said.Sheth is taking advantage of the immigrant investor program known as EB-5. The federal program began in 1990 and is administered through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It requires foreign investors to advance $500,000 and create 10 new jobs in exchange for expedited green cards.“They will receive permanent residence status and would get to immigrate to the United States with their family,” Sheth said.The Midwest Center for Foreign Investment is the regional center helping administer the program between Homeland Security and the investors. It’s the only immigration program that hasn’t met its quota, said Sheth.The Clarks Landing Fund hopes to raise around $50 million over the next three years, he said.“And it will allow 98 investors which in turn over the next three years, 2011, 2012, and 2013, will bring more than 980 jobs,” he said.There are several businesses in negotiation for space including well-known hotels, a healthcare technology park, and a global mall that will have internationally themed stores and restaurants, said Sheth. Brazilian and Indian restaurants have expressed interest, he said.Finally, Sheth said he’s discussing the possibility of a Colgate museum that will help honor the history of the space.More tenants are expected to be announced in the near future.