The American Institute of Architects is launching a database of stalled building projects throughout the country, in an effort to revive development.
“We are committing to developing this database not just with the fortunes of architects in mind,” said Clark Manus, president of the AIA, in a statement. “In large part, the fortunes of the entire U.S. economy rest on the jobs-creating potential of the design and construction industry, which accounts for $1 in $9 of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”
“For months, our industry has continued to suffer solely because banks won’t lend,” said Manus. “With this innovative, unprecedented commitment, the AIA has decided to step up and do something about that.”
The AIA will also be participating in a September conference hosted by the Clinton Global Imitative, a group founded by the former president to address global challenges.
In a recent survey of the 700 architecture firms, 63% reported at least one stalled project, with an average value of $50 million per firm. Typical firms generally range from 5 to 15 personnel, with larger firms encompassing 50 or more staff, said Kermit Baker, chief economist of the AIA. The AIA’s May Architecture Billing Index, which provides a leading economic indicator for non-residential construction by measuring architectural work, also indicated continued decreases in construction spending.
“Financing was the principal reason things weren’t moving forward,” said Baker.
The AIA will analyze stalled projects that suffer from lack of financing, and identify opportunities to collaborate and finance the project. It may seek funding from alternative sources, such as pension funds or construction groups, rather than banks, some of which are reluctant to invest in real estate, said Baker.
The results of the study are expected to be released in a few months.