SkipStone is a Pacific Northwest consultancy that helps private, public and non-profit entities use capital efficiently and profitably to build better cities.
SkipStone has a deep commitment to systems solutions, because influencing systems leads to lasting impact. We strive to delight our private, public and non-profit clients, and the customers they serve, since delight attracts capital that can scale solutions and change the world.
SkipStone was started by A-P Hurd following a 20-year career in finance, operations and real estate, where she was involved in developing more than 3M SF of office, hotel, residential and retail space in the Seattle area. She led Touchstone during the period where it received the National Developer of the Year Award for its successful projects and its commitment to community.
A-P is recognized as a thought leader in land use, transportation and housing policy and is a published author and Runstad Fellow in the Real Estate Department at the University of Washington.
6753 2nd Ave. NW Seattle, WA
What WE DO
SkipStone makes good things happen at the intersection of capital and humanity
Urban REAL ESTATE STRATEGY AND PLANNING
Our approach to planning is not just about design or zoning, but about how to attract capital to make projects happen.
If you’ve ever used a play-dough extruder, or an iced a fancy cake, zoning is the shape of the hole in the plate or the piping tip, and capital is the thick play-dough or icing. Zoning can limit what happens, but capital is what makes the shape that comes out.
SkipStone can help marry aspirations for urban growth with the strengths of existing communities and figure out how to attract capital to make great places happen.
With years of experience in different industries, working at the intersection of land, development, technology and regulation, SkipStone can help your board or executive team develop a clear vision of how technological and financial changes will impact your industry and how to position your enterprise for market leadership.
A-P has many years of facilitating strategic planning processes with executive teams and boards, and is frequently asked to speak to business and civic organizations about the economic and social forces that will shape their customer’s needs, their products and services.
Development project management
SkipStone can help with every phase of a project from land acquisition and disposition strategy, master planning of phased projects, entitlement strategy and execution, design development management, construction feasibility, construction oversight, leasing strategy and disposition.
Every step of the way, we use best practices to optimize future flexibility, focus spending on strategies that create the most value, human-centered design, and the creation of a powerful brand story that is borne out by the project and the place it creates.
SkipStone also has experience with many variations on these services, including product and operations strategy, technology strategy, succession planning, economic development strategy and public policy design.
What’s in a Name?
With the right tools (in this case, the right flat stone), and the right environmental conditions (still water, no wind) and the right skill (the right flick of the wrist) a stone can skip three, four or five times.
It’s a beautiful thing, in part because it defies our expectations about the nature of stones and water.
SkipStone is founded on the belief that all kinds of beautiful things are possible. If we imagine them first, and then put in place the right tools, the right environmental conditions and the right skills, we can invent and transform cultures, projects and enterprises in ways that deeply delight participants and customers.
6753 2nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA, 98117
Ah, the old telephone, so unloved compared to email and texting. If you need to reach us with an open-ended question, or if you have something you want to discuss, please have some compassion for your old phone and give us a call.
So many things are easier when we talk.
A-P Hurd’s 20-year career spans real estate, finance and technology. Her experience running a real estate company and developing nearly $3B of new buildings in Seattle has made her a strong investment and risk manager—in addition to having a deep understanding of how her supply chain comes together to create value. A-P is known for her ability to innovate in a highly regulated industry and think strategically about how public policy and technology are shaping her sector.
A-P was hired at Touchstone in 2007 to assemble a new leadership team and execute a merger/transition from a founder-led company. In 2014 Touchstone was successfully acquired by Urban Renaissance Group, and A-P became President until the completion of the portfolio of projects in August 2017.
A-P was responsible for the company’s overall financial performance including operating P&L and investment returns. Under her leadership, the company earned several awards (including National Developer of the Year,) and completed projects that set the high-water mark in Seattle for largest commercial lease, highest sales price per square foot, and highest sales price overall for a single project. A-P worked closely with investors and lenders including insurance companies, pension fund advisors, regional and national banks.
For the last decade, A-P has also been a Runstad Fellow and faculty member in the Runstad Real Estate Department at the University of Washington, where she teaches a course on urban economics. in 2012, she published The Carbon Efficient City with the University of Washington Press.
Prior to Touchstone, A-P’s career was focused in operations and software development. She worked for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software provider, and her work there (as well as much of her graduate research) concentrated on complex systems architecture. For a few years she also traded interest rate derivatives for Royal Bank of Canada, the largest Canadian bank. In that role, she worked closely with corporate treasuries and developed her risk management skills.
A-P is on the boards of CityBldr, a technology company focused on unlocking value though assemblages of land in transitioning neighborhoods and Blueline Group, an engineering design firm. From 2013-2016, A-P served on the board of OneBuild-- a privately-held modular construction and development company.
She is also currently a board member at the Metro Seattle Chamber where she also sits on the Executive Committee, and is a former chair of the Policy Leadership Group. She serves on the board of the Pacific Real Estate Institute (PREI) and is a member of the Community Development Roundtable (CDRT). A-P has served on many other non-profit and industry boards including as the board chair and Chapter President for NAIOP Washington—the industry association for the commercial real estate industry, and the board treasurer at Forterra.