Following in the well-trod path of Match.com and other online dating services, the American Institute of Architects thinks it has found a way to attract investors to the thousands of industry projects put on hold—send the potential suitors to cyberspace for a database of the good-lookers. That is, the AIA is compiling a list of stalled projects nationwide that “make sense” to move forward but for lack of financing, and a list of the types of projects that financial entities specialize in.
“Database is kind of an erroneous term,” Mendelsohn says. “It will launch as a Web-based site that has the ability to capture information from the project side and the financing side, and will be searchable.” It will feature drop-down menus with fields of data such as project size and location, he adds.
AIA is currently working with its membership and other professionals in and out of the industry to develop those searchable fields and compile information.
“We won’t rank projects,” Manus says. “We are supplying a mechanism for which a decision can be made … to connect two potential business partners.”
AIA plans to launch the site at the end of October or beginning of November, modifying it in stages over time. “The intent is for the initial launch to be usable,” Manus says, “but it will go through trial-and-error” upgrades with time. One of the glitches so far has been with projects that are sensitive and/or proprietary, he says, “so we’re trying to find a balance of getting just the right amount of information.”
“We don’t normally share information about projects with association members, so it’s sort of new territory for us to seek that information and put it in a database,” Manus says. The organization seeks to identify where opportunities exist for lenders that want to invest in projects, he says.