Just more than two and a half months after its launch, the American Institute of Architects’ “stalled-projects” database includes 36 projects worth a total of almost $1.2 billion, and 50 (both anonymous and public) investors looking for projects to finance, the AIA announced last week.
| Jeff Potter|
| AIA President|
Launched on Nov. 7, the AIA’s stalled projects database, located at www.aia.org/stalledprojects, is designed to facilitate networking of developers and architects with investors interested in lending to projects that have been stalled primarily due to lack of financing.
The database seeks to address the persistent lack of financing facing the construction sector, which is afflicted with an unemployment rate of 16%, almost twice the national average, AIA says.
According to a study by George Mason University economist Stephen J. Fuller, each $1 million in new construction spending supports 28.5 full-time, year-round-equivalent jobs, AIA said. If each of the projects listed in the database obtained financing, according to this equation, 28,500 jobs could be created nationwide.
“This effort by the AIA to match projects with investors has no precedent we know of, and so we have to be pleased with the development of the database so far,” said AIA President Jeff Potter, FAIA. “We won’t be satisfied, however, until we see deals being consummated at a rapid pace as a result of our efforts.
“In large part the fortunes of the entire U.S. economy rest on whether the design and construction industry can create jobs,” said Potter.
AIA said the credit-crunch crisis in design and construction shows no signs of abating. A report issued 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 results from financing problems. A report on the situation by the economics and market research group is available at Stalled Construction Projects and Financing.
“Indeed, almost two-thirds of architects responding to a May AIA survey reported at least one project stalled due to lack of financing,” the institute said.
AIA last year issued a call for a loosening of tight credit markets as part of a broader campaign for policy actions by Congress and the Obama administration to address ongoing weakness in the economy and the construction industry.
In a “white paper” policy document issued last September—The Built Environment’s Role in the Recovery—AIA called for actions to ease tight credit markets; revive the “Build America Bonds” program; establish a national infrastructure bank; accelerate green construction in the commercial and educational sectors; and maintain transportation funding.
The white paper was the subject of the D+D story AIA Offers Blueprint for Actions to Boost Construction, Economy.