The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently announced that it has launched an online database that will let developers and architects network with investors interested in lending to projects that have been stalled primarily due to lack of financing. The AIA designed the database, housed at www.aia.org/stalledprojects, to help address one of the persistent impediments facing the design and construction sector, which accounts for $1 in $9 of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Each $1 million in new construction spending supports 28.5 full-time, year-round-equivalent jobs, according to a study by George Mason University economist Stephen J. Fuller.
“In large part the fortunes of the entire U.S. economy rest on whether the design and construction industry can create jobs,” said AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA. “For months, our industry has continued to suffer primarily because banks won’t lend. With this unprecedented online database portal, the AIA has decided to do something that could create more jobs and help grow the economy.”
The credit crunch crisis in design and construction shows no signs of abating. A report issued recently by the AIA’s economics and market research group finds that the share of projects stalled due to financing problems through August 2011 has almost doubled since 2008 and that one-in-five stalled projects directly result from financing problems. Indeed, almost two-thirds of architects responding to a May AIA survey reported at least one project stalled due to lack of financing.
To populate this database with both stalled projects and investors interested in financing them, the AIA in the last week initiated a communications campaign to solicit information about stalled projects around the country from its members and allied professionals. Since going live on October 31, the site has attracted projects seeking a total of almost $230 million in financing. The AIA expects these numbers to grow as word spreads throughout the architecture profession about this initiative.
“The four-month project to create this one-of-a-kind portal represents a comprehensive, intense effort by this organization to address an issue of vital importance to our members and to the economy in general,” said the AIA’s EVP and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. “As this initiative takes hold, we hope that the AIA’s Stalled Projects Page will prove to be an immense asset to architects, builders and developers throughout the country.”
By creating a log-in and clicking inside the “Get Started Now” box on the site, architects and developers can fill out a form and tell investors about their projects. By clicking in that same box, investors list their companies and tell project leaders about their firms and the types of investments they are interested in making. Once registered, both project owner and investor can see details on stalled projects or peruse investor information.