High-performance, Sustainable Building: NAIOP’s 2016 Developer of the Year (

August 03, 2016

A-P Hurd, President, Touchstone

A-P Hurd, President, Touchstone

For financial resiliency through economic cycles to the quality and breadth of its work, Touchstone was selected as the NAIOP 2016 Developer of the Year, the association’s highest honor recognizing a company’s development leadership and innovation. Headquartered here, Touchstone is a leader in the commercial real estate industry for designing and building high-performance, sustainable buildings, says NAIOP. Touchstone president A-P Hurd tells that the company is largely focused on the development of urban-infill projects, including commercial office, technology, biotechnology, R&D buildings and business hotels.

Read an excerpt of the interview below.

In the last decade, Touchstone has broken ground on 12 projects comprising nearly 3 million square feet. The company is currently developing 2 million square feet of real estate in the greater Seattle area—primarily projects that Touchstone lined up during the last downturn when many market participants had been sidelined. We spoke exclusively with Hurd about the company, this award and challenges and opportunities for developers in the Seattle market. What traits do you believe led your firm to be named NAIOP’s developer of the year?

Hurd: NAIOP has criteria that ranges from the firm’s financial resiliency through the cycles to the quality and amount of work they’re building. We are currently developing 2 million square feet of space in Seattle, and our commitment is to this community. We see ourselves as a local development company with really deep roots here. What are the biggest challenges to developers in the Seattle market in particular?

Hurd: We have very high barriers to entry here and very long timelines to entitle projects. We have to control and purchase land in the period of the economic and real estate cycle when most people believe nothing bad is going to happen again. People are very emotional about their investments, so we have to have a lot of resolve and courage to take initiative when the time is right. That way, when the market comes back and real estate capital starts looking for projects again, we are prepared. This is important because building early in the cycle is much less risky than building late in the cycle.

Read the full interview on (login may be required) and register today for Commercial Real Estate Conference 2016.