AIA Charlotte Office Space Announcement
Thursday, November 6, 2014
The AIA Charlotte Board of Directors is pleased to bring exciting news to our members. As you may have known from previous newsletters, the current lease for our office is set to expire in June 2015. In 2013 we began the process of exploring future office space, taking into consideration both short and long term objectives for the Section. This process was driven by our Mission Statement: To be the voice of the architecture profession dedicated to three purposes: serving its members, advancing their value, and improving the quality of the built environment.
At the start of this process, we thought big (we are architects, that's what we do), but the more research staff, Board members and volunteers put into the effort, we began to wonder if we were thinking too big. What would it be like if we reduced our overhead dramatically and the office space went smaller? What if our board meetings and committee meetings were held in the community? What if we gave that money back to the members, back to the profession of architecture?
Coincidentally, our landlord at the NC Music Factory approached us in September asking if we would be willing to terminate our current lease, as they had a new opportunity for future plans in our existing space. We worked with them to look at other potential office spaces available at the Music Factory, and came to the decision that it was in our best interest to work with the owners, terminate our lease early and move out. As a result, our current lease is now ending December 1, 2014.
After much thought and consideration, starting next month AIA Charlotte will proceed with a virtual office. This decision was made in an effort to reduce operating expenses and provide fiscal flexibility to better serve our members. We asked ourselves, what if we structured ourselves in a way that enabled us to go to our members instead of having a space where we expect our members to come to us? The virtual office enhances this relationship.
The number one concern we hear from our members is the cost of membership. AIA Charlotte has made it a focus to keep your membership dues down. We have not raised our dues since 2007.* While we haven't raised our dues, the cost of living has certainly gone up. We hope by exploring the opportunity of having a virtual office, we will be able to provide more services to our members and promote the value of good design in our community. In the near future you will hear details on scholarships we are establishing to send AIA Charlotte members to AIA conferences such as Grassroots, the AIA North Carolina Design Conference and AIA National Convention, along with other opportunities.
We are NOT cutting any programs. We are NOT reducing the services we provide to our members. AIA Charlotte's financial portfolio is quite strong, including a healthy operating budget and a strong financial reserve that could support us for a long period of time if necessary. We want to give more back to YOU, the members.
We will have a virtual office for 2015. Upon evaluation, if it is determined the virtual office is not beneficial to our organization we will establish a physical office space. We have created an FAQ in an effort to answer any questions you may have. If you still have unanswered questions, please feel free to contact us.
2014 AIA Charlotte Board of Directors
*While AIA Charlotte has not increased local dues, both National and State have increased their dues, both of which AIA Charlotte has no control over.