The American Institute of Architects 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 says it designed the database to help address one of the persistent impediments facing the design and construction sector, which accounts for about one-ninth 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," AIA President Clark Manus, said in a statement. "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 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, the AIA began a communications campaign in late October to solicit information about stalled projects around the country from its members and allied professionals. Since going live on Oct. 31, the site has attracted projects seeking a total of almost $230 million in financing.
Users can create log-ins on the site and fill out a form to tell investors about their projects. By clicking in that same box, investors can 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 browse investor information.