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China City plans for Thompson

This is an artist’s rendering of the China City of America project proposed for the Town of Thompson
Contributed graphic

By Fritz Mayer
December 11, 2013

TOWN OF THOMPSON, NY — A project that was first proposed as a Chinese Disneyland has now been transformed into an educational project that is planned for about 570 acres in the Town of Thompson off Wild Turnpike. According to the environmental impact statement that was presented to the town planning board on December 3 by developer Sherry Li, the China City of America Project (CCAP) will include four college classroom buildings, four student activity centers, and related facilities such as 2,056 dormitory units.

The plans also call for a 100-unit inn, and 35 single-family houses that will be 10,000 square feet each and serve as “college benefactor housing.” The document also says, “All such housing will be subject to deed restrictions requiring approval of purchasers and tenants by the college to ensure occupancy only by such benefactors. Similar provisions will apply to faculty and student housing.”

One aspect of the project that has garnered a lot of attention is that the funding will be generated by Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5 visa” which grants green cards to foreign nationals who invest a certain amount of money in new commercial ventures.

According to information outlined on the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service website, the minimum investment amount in most of the country is $1 million, but in high unemployment or rural area such as Sullivan County, the minimum is $500,000, and the venture must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. residents. The application for that part of the project is under review.

The project is in the initial stages of development, and no permits have yet been granted.

If it is successful, this would not be the first education project started in Sullivan County that involves Chinese citizens. In November, the board of the Sullivan West Central School District finalized the sale of the mothballed Delaware Valley campus to Emily Wu, who runs The Windsor School in Queens that caters to middle and high school Chinese students as well as students from Korea, Vietnam and Japan. The school in the Town of Fremont is expected to also attract international students.