Andy Card, who owns and operates Fishers-based Card & Associates, is interested in purchasing Grand Park.
The Westfield Redevelopment Commission issued a request for proposals March 3 seeking a buyer for Grand Park or for someone to enter into a public-private partnership for park operation. Proposals are due June 22. Sixteen companies have submitted an intent to issue a proposal, one of which is Card & Associates.
Other Westfield-related proposals have been submitted by Bullpen Ventures and Legacy Sports Group. Legacy Sports Group is owned by former Grand Park director William Knox. Bullpen Ventures declined to comment. Knox has agreed to an interview with Current but because of scheduling conflicts, a time has not been arranged as of press time.
Proposals have also been submitted from California and Florida. Card & Associates is the parent company of several sports operations and management companies, including one that owns and operates the Pacers Athletic Center at Grand Park.
“My approach is to buy it and then operate it through our operations and management company,” Card said. “The city has done a great job, but I don’t think in today’s environment you could build Grand Park again. I think, in my opinion, the city is ready for somebody to come in and take it to the next step.”
Card declined to say how much he’s willing to pay for Grand Park. According to a presentation by the Westfield City Council’s finance committee, Grand Park has an estimated net worth of $200 million.
Card & Associates also owns Mojo Up Sports Complex in Noblesville and several other athletic facilities in Indiana. Card said Card & Associates will own 10 more facilities in Indiana by 2024.
“This is what we do and all we do. We find land and work with the local community, and we do public-private partnerships with them,” Card said. “We do development, financing, construction and design, and then we stay and operate (the business). We are very unique in what we do. Most of the folks bidding (for Grand Park) that I can tell are either managers or operators. They don’t necessarily own brick-and-mortar.
“What I can tell is, we are pretty unique in the overall group.”
Card said if Card & Associates is selected through the RFP process, the company would build off the success of the Pacers Athletic Center, which hosts national tournaments such as the Nike EYBL, the Under Armour Association Championship, Adidas 3SSB, the USA Basketball U.S. Open Championship and the Jr. NBA Midwest Regional Championship.
Card said if his proposal is accepted, he wants to offer more events at the Grand Park Events Center, such as concerts, baseball card shows, retro tennis shoe sales, antique shows and car shows.
Card said he also would like to expand Grand Park’s sports side. He envisions baseball stadiums and more sports facilities if his proposal is accepted.
“I believe to make Grand Park everything it can be, I think it needs to be managed and owned by local ownership. I have a big asset in Grand Park already,” Card said. “I’m already vested in Westfield, and I have a lot of reasons to make sure Grand Park becomes everything it can be as a local operator. We care about Westfield, and Grand Park is the key to Westfield’s future.
“Local ownership is going to get Grand Park to be the best it can be. That’s why I want to buy it. I can expand on the great job the city has already done.”
Card entered the sports operations business when his sons were in high school and played travel basketball. He noticed some facilities were state-of-the-art and others lacked basic comforts such as air conditioning.
“I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this has to be a business.’ I could see the synergies of being able to have huge facilities with multiple courts and turf fields inside, so you don’t have to succumb to the weather, the heat and all those types of things,” Card said. “This has to be a viable business.”
Card eventually came up with a business plan and worked with Grand Park staff and built the Pacers Athletic Center, previously known as Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse, in 2015.
“And here we are, a nationally recognized company and really a leader in operations,” Card said. “Our expertise is operations. It’s what we do the best out of everything we do. Our facilities are beautiful. They’re big, but our operations are so good that has been the key to our success.”