by Adam Roberts
The COVID-19 health and financial crisis has hit New York City design and construction particularly hard. As construction sites become potential places for infection and clients run out of capital, much construction has come to a halt. AIANY is here to help our members who are struggling financially in a number of different ways.
Where work can continue safely, such as at-home design work, AIANY has been advocating that it continues. At the State level, Governor Cuomo has limited construction to only essential projects.
Meanwhile, the City is instituting a work stoppage for public sector design work by no longer paying for projects currently in design. If design work is halted, then projects will not be shovel-ready until long after the health crisis ends. AIANY has partnered with engineering, contractor, and labor groups to collaborate on direct outreach to the Mayor and commissioners, asking that the Stop-Work order is reconsidered and underscoring the long-term economic implications of stopping work.
AIANY is also recommending that firms in distress take advantage of available government relief options. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering up to two million dollars in low-interest loans at 3.75%. These Economic Injury Disaster Loans may be used to pay for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Locally, NYC Small Business Services (SBS) is offering up to $75,000 in zero interest loans. For businesses with fewer than 5 employees, SBS is offering a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees.
Further relief options will be coming from the recently passed CARES Act. Small businesses, including architecture firms, receive a significant amount of aid in the law, which you can read more on here. Furthermore, the law provides $26 billion in financial assistance to transit agencies, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). This should ensure that transit design work can, at least for the time being, continue as planned.
AIANY will continue to advocate for all of its members in this difficult time. As the situation is changing rapidly in the halls of government, we will continue to keep you updated on our advocacy efforts and the relief options available. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.