Practicing ArchitecturePracticing Architecture
AIA Initiative to Jumpstart Stalled Projects
“For months, our industry has continued to suffer solely because banks won’t lend. The AIA decided to step up and do something about that.”
AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA, made that remark to launch the AIA Stalled Projects Database, one of the most necessary Institute initiatives since the Great Recession began wreaking economic havoc on the profession.
By early October, the AIA will launch a new “Match.com” type database that brings worthy architectural projects to the attention of interested investors with money and the desire to put it to good use. This database, hosted on the AIA website, will let architects and investors share contact information and project details so each can take the conversation to the next level, i.e. secure funding to get the project moving. Already, about a dozen investors have expressed interest in the database, and the AIA gets more interest in this project from investors with each passing week.
Now we need your participation in this effort.
If you have a stalled project and need financing, we want you to be listed in this database. We also want you to let your business associates and components know about this AIA initiative.
Start thinking about that project that is ready to move ahead but is not because the financing either fell through or couldn’t be secured. Get with your client or developer and do a project inventory. As soon as this web page is functional, we will invite you begin entering your project details in the database. When the database has a critical number of stalled projects, the initial investors already on board will get first choice. Then, the AIA will do a major communications push to attract even more investors willing to consider funding your project.
This “Match.com” approach let architects/developers communicate directly with interested investors, start a dialogue, and begin to help unlock the vast amount of investment capital that continues to lie on the sidelines–mainly on the balance sheets of conventional lenders such as banks and mortgage companies.
You have heard the continued refrain over the past few years that lenders are cautious about taking on too much risk in the wake of financial reform. But, many lenders are simply saying “no” to projects that are clearly credit-worthy. While the AIA continues to lobby Congress on a host of issues concerning access to credit, it’s clearly also time to take control of our own destiny.
The commitment to develop the database of stalled projects began with the AIA’s participation in last summer’s Clinton Global Initiative America, the first conference of the Clinton Global Initiative solely dedicated to economic issues impacting the United States. At the conference, the AIA committed to developing the stalled projects database by the end of this year. But when the publicity generated by the announcement resulted in numerous inquiries from investors such as pension funds and real estate investment trusts, the AIA accelerated that deadline.
“We were so heartened by the response from certain segments of the real estate investment community that we thought it was incumbent upon us to find a way to gather the inquiries into one place,” said Paul Mendelsohn, vice president of AIA Government and Community Relations. “It made us realize that there are people out there willing to lend, and we didn’t want to lose any momentum.”
Watch for more details.