Jonathan Byrd’s backing away from Grand Park

Indianapolis Business Journal

Jonathan Byrd’s is backing away from a Westfield sports complex where they had opened a restaurant and sponsored a fieldhouse.

Jonathan Byrd II, business development director of Greenwood-based Byrd Enterprises Inc., confirmed Monday that the family’s companies have ended almost all of their involvement with Grand Park, the 400-acre youth sports development that includes outdoor sports fields, an indoor soccer facility and a basketball and volleyball facility named Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse.

Until Jan. 29, Jonathan Byrd’s operated food service in both indoor complexes, and the company was involved in event management and marketing for the events center. Byrd Hotel Enterprises also had considered constructing a 180-room hotel within the campus.

“We have a great relationship with the city, and we have much admiration for the city of Westfield, as well as for Grand Park and all that is going on,” Byrd said in an email. “While we appreciate our relationships with all those involved and have enjoyed working within Westfield and Grand Park, it was during an evaluation of our long-term business plans that we determined that the company would no longer remain at the Park.”

On Jan. 29, the company stopped offering food service in the events center. The company is still operating food service at the Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse, but that could change as well.

“We are also evaluating this in conjunction with all of our long-term business strategies,” Byrd said.

In addition, Jonathan Byrd’s Event & Entertainment LLC, which had been a partnership created with Indianapolis-based LST Marketing LLC to provide event scheduling and management services at the events center, is no longer working for the city. Instead, LST Marketing is solely managing the events.

In 2014, Westfield Mayor Andy Cook announced plans for the indoor soccer facility and said Jonathan Byrd’s would provide a “sizable” food component in the building. In 2015, Jonathan Byrd’s agreed to a 10-year deal with the indoor basketball and volleyball facility’s developers for the naming rights, concession-stand management and space for a food court. Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse is privately owned and operated by a group of investors led by entrepreneur Andy Card, who has been looking to build a similar facility in the Bargersville area.

It was not clear Monday morning whether the fieldhouse would retain the Jonathan Byrd’s name.

Byrd Hotel Enterprises proposed a five-story, 180-room hotel within the complex, and construction had been expected to start quickly, with the hotel opening by July 2016, but work never started. Last month, Grand Park officials said the hotel has been put on hold because of other hotel projects already under way in Westfield.

Byrd said Monday that the hotel project “has been paused for now and will be re-evaluated in the future.”

Westfield spokeswoman Erin Murphy said food service has continued without interruption since Jonathan Byrd’s exit. Urick Concessions, which operates the park’s outdoor food operations, has been managing the concession area on the first floor of the events center. The city also has a short-term agreement in place with Westfield Restaurant Group LLC, and is in the process of negotiating a long-term agreement.