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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

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Chinese investors are set to remake Northridge Mall.
Chinese investors are set to remake Northridge Mall. (Photo: philontheweb via flickr)
The mall's been dead since 2003.
The mall's been dead since 2003. (Photo: philontheweb via flickr)
It's the largest overseas acquisition of commercial property by a Chinese enterprise.
It's the largest overseas acquisition of commercial property by a Chinese enterprise. (Photo: philontheweb via flickr)

Could Chinese "AmAsia" be just what Milwaukee ordered?

Major Milwaukee news broke in China at the end of December, and since many people were on vacation and the topic hasn't yet garnered the buzz I thought it would, I thought I'd comment on AmAsia Plaza.

What's AmAsia Plaza? It's the probable new development at Milwaukee's long shuttered Northridge Mall. And, it could be a very, very big deal for greater Milwaukee.

Chinadaily.com's Wang Chao broke the story on Dec. 30, writing, "A Beijing company has purchased a shopping mall in the U.S., marking the largest overseas acquisition of commercial property by a Chinese enterprise to date.

"Beijing's Toward Group said it will open the mall in Milwaukee, Wis., in August 2010 when 40 percent of tenants are expected to have moved in. The company announced its acquisition of the property on Dec 24."

A mall of Chinese retailers and restaurants on Milwaukee's Northwest Side? Interesting and possibly one of those regional game changers that could truly become a destination for years and years.

Wow, if only the Milwaukee Bucks still had Yi Jianlian, the acclaimed Chinese NBA player. Side note, I do kinda miss Yi. His presence brought a whole new attention to the Bucks. And, even though I don't think he'll ever be an elite player in the league he's playing well now. But, he never truly wanted to be here.

Anyway, the investors at the old Northridge do want to be here. "The sales tax rate in Wisconsin is only 5.5 percent, much lower than the average level in California, which is 7.25 percent to 9.75 percent," Wu Li said to Chinadaily.com. "The purchase only cost $6 million. It would cost $100 million to build a similar property.

"If the occupancy rate is high enough, this mall will be worth a lot of money in the capital market," said Wu. "That is how we will make our profit.

"Besides, it is the economic center of Wisconsin and is only an hour away from Chicago," Wu added. "There are almost no big malls dedicated to sell Chinese products. We face far less competition than on the East and West coasts."

It's far too early to assess what AmAsia Plaza could or will become (who knows if the name will even stick), but here are several reasons to be optimistic:

  • Ningbo, Milwaukee's sister city, will be involved giving the Milwaukee development an even more international and relationship-based flavor.
  • Northridge is still a black eye for the area. This helps it heal.
  • Milwaukee needs unique destinations. And AmAsia Plaza could be something truly different.
  • Walmart is close by. Obviously, this company knows retail and the investors of the Chinese project have seen Walmart's success in the area.
  • Outside investment in Milwaukee is a good thing. Our area can sometimes have a small city attitude about it.
  • Opening up to ideas from international investors raises Milwaukee's game and profile.

Read the full story at the link below and search other local media for takes on this development. Personally, I'm exited about its potential and eager to learn more.

What's your take? Use the Talkbacks now.

Talkbacks

yazaak | Jan. 13, 2010 at 10:57 a.m. (report)

This is "It has also become so far the largest acquisition of Chinese enterprises overseas commercial property development project. "

They want to promot Made in China as a quality brand - not just cheap OEMs.

" As a private entrepreneur, WU Li-feel that they have a responsibility to establish the China Brand Name: "China Commodity = low + + OEM production of low value-added, this is entirely unreasonable, our Asian-American mall would change this impression, We hope to bring Chinese goods overseas consumers will also allow them a taste of our culture. ""

""The idea is to create Asian-American Mall North American trading center of Chinese goods as the goal, to show China's modern cultural level and the level of China", Beijing Taiwo De Investment Co., Ltd., chairman of Dong-Mei Cai told reporters, "Our aim is to 'China manufactured 'products led to the U.S. market, so Chinese enterprises really into the United States, the United States to build' Chinese brands' use of global resources and markets, optimize the allocation and improve their core competitiveness. "Dong-Mei Cai told reporters stationed at mall merchants will show sales of own brand, quality, first-class products with Chinese characteristics, including electronic appliances, garments, home decorations and other 10 types of goods, January 8, 2010 in Ningbo to start the first round of investment the country. Ningbo station, the next will be in Dalian, Wenzhou, Beijing and other places to conduct series of investment activities in Asia and the United States in August next year, will be officially opened mall. "

"Just last week, led by the Ministry of Commerce produced propaganda "Made in China" international image of the advertising packages just in the U.S. Cable News Network (CNN) broadcast on the mall project was initiated with Asia and the United States is precisely the "Made in China" in the United States The best interpretation of landing. The United States in September this year, Wisconsin Gov. Dong Jie Mu (JIM DOYLE) Taiwo De During his visit, also the time of acquisition of the financial crisis, expressed great appreciation and promised to give maximum support in all aspects. "

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yazaak | Jan. 13, 2010 at 10:50 a.m. (report)

The lease details and investment requirements are also on the website.

"Dong-Mei Cai introduced for the size of domestic enterprises is different from Asia and the United States mall for enterprises to adopt four different modes of cooperation, including the leasing, joining methods, product display and sales agent for commission business."

In Joining they all pool their money together so they qualify for investment immigration qualifications?

"Lease:
Rent :98 ---- 150 U.S. dollars / square meter / year (according to the construction area)
Property management fees 2 U.S. dollars / square meter / month
Merchant must sign two years (including 2-year) leases and pay rent equivalent to the amount of the guarantee will be for one year
Merchant lease contract entered into after the 6 months rent-free period
Utilities / real estate tax and various taxes and fees collected according to the actual costs incurred in a unified "

Joining

"Joined by:
500 thousand U.S. dollars investors hold 0.5% stake in mall
Annual investment rate of return of not less than 10% of the investment period of five years, investors may choose to withdraw or transfer the whole year to do business migrants
Asia and the United States Mall of not less than 400 square meters of independent property rights of the investors secured property"

product display and sales agent for commission business

"Product display and sales agent
Enterprises will be commissioned by Asia and the United States-store product promotion and sales of display
* Booth space not less than 9 square meters
* Booth Rental: 300 USD / square meter / year
* Asia and the United States Mall 3% of total sales by extracting agent service fees
Entrusted with the operation
* Enterprises, such as product selection and Asia and the United States signed a commission mall operating agreement, enterprises are not required to pay the rent and any other costs, Asia and the United States mall fiduciary products by 20% of total sales extracting management fees."

more about Investment Immigration

"Investment Immigration

Milwaukee 500,000 investment preferential policies for immigrants:

Investment in the United States immigration policy provides that: In the United States a total investment of 100 million, and the direct creation of 10 jobs can be obtained for investment immigration qualifications. Asia and the United States mall project area enjoy the "Invest in the Diaspora Center" preferential policies (EB-5 policy), that is, a total investment of 50 million U.S. dollars, allowing the creation of 10 indirect jobs will be entitled to invest in their immigration status.

Investors enjoy the following benefits:
1. To meet the requirements of investors and their families (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) are eligible to apply for and was given a green card though the investment must be in a specific context of the regional centers, but the investor and his or her family in the United States any place of work, the Health on the investor's age, business training and experience, as well as language ability does not require funding the person's age, business training and experience, as well as language ability does not require
2. You can travel without a visa from the U.S. permanent residents to enjoy the educational benefits, including the right to pay the resident tuition rate to enter State University to study to become permanent residents after five years are eligible to become U.S. citizens
3. Completed an investment after the migrants returned to investors
4. Asia and the United States mall of 400 square meters of independent property rights of the investors the security of property
5. Asia and the United States mall can I invest in immigrants and their families to provide employment opportunities

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yazaak | Jan. 13, 2010 at 10:28 a.m. (report)

Maybe Ames, IA would be a better location?

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yazaak | Jan. 13, 2010 at 10:26 a.m. (report)

The way I read towards websites this project is a mall and an expostion center.

* Excellent quality commercial, cultural, exhibition center
* Set the wholesale, retail, e-commerce, logistics integrated business platform
* US-Canada border unparalleled platform to showcase Chinese culture and tourism promotion window

Asia and the United States Mall

Mall plan
Food Street: A Chinese specialty cuisine throughout the main attraction and the United States to local public catering.

Pavilion ethnic characteristics: pooled specialty products throughout China, including ethnic jewelry, ethnic handicrafts, ethnic characteristics, gifts, national costumes and so on, such as batik, root carving, handicrafts, Tibetan jewelry, embroidery, bamboo paintings, Zhuang Jin, porcelain, hemp color painting , bronze ware, ethnic minority residential model, linen murals, glass crafts, paper cutting, wood watermark, seal carving, face painting and so on.

China Commodity Trading Center in North America

Display area:

In a professional exhibition, consumer show, ICIF, tourism promotion, new product launches based, advocacy and promotion of Chinese national brand products and Chinese local culture and tourism; the holding of US-China Trade Forum.

Perennial host a variety of Chinese cultural exhibitions and performances, such as painting Chinese characters, Chinese language teaching and competition, live arts and crafts shows, opera performances.

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JudyLL | Jan. 4, 2010 at 11:12 a.m. (report)

My only comment is the possible name. I want to say "Amnesia" instead.

Otherwise I think this could be great for the Milwaukee area.

I wonder if they will hire only Asians though?

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