Setting the Stage for the ‘Clean’ Economy with Lakeshore Family Sports’ Paul Boardman
October 26, 2015
John Shegerian: Welcome to another edition of Green Is Good, and we’re so honored to have with us today Paul Boardman. He is the Founder and Chairman of Lakeshore Family Sports. Welcome to Green Is Good, Paul. Paul Boardman: Thank you, John. I appreciate being here. Thank you for the opportunity. It’s a wonderful show. We’re an incubator – essentially – of putting together the greenest, most sustainable arena complex in America perhaps the world, and we use your radio program as a resource to help us integrate those wonderful capabilities. So fantastic for all the work you’ve done. John Shegerian: That’s kind of you to say that and thank you. And for our listeners out there that want to find Paul’s great company – Lakeshore Family Sports – please go to www.DunelandSports.org. I’m on your site right now. Our listeners should go onto it to learn more. Before we get talking about Lakeshore Family Sports and your website and all the great work you’re doing, I want you to share the Paul Boardman journey with our listeners. How did you become a greenie, and how did you come up with the vision to start – even – Lakeshore Family Sports? Paul Boardman: It goes back. I was compelled to run for Congress in the West Los Angeles district. At that poin,t I was very concerned about violence in the media. John Shegerian: Huh. Paul Boardman: I ran for Congress twice. And it evolved over the years with different experiences I had in real estate development looking at how to move our economy forward. I’m really an economic development person so merging together my interest in sports, entertainment – being in that West Los Angeles district, it just came to a point where the market is ready to move in this direction – and it just happened. I’m a believer that the next economy is a clean economy. We’re in it now. We’ve seeded that with 3 trillion federal dollars and [inaudible] R&D over the last 15 years and almost a trillion corporate dollars. The speed of money today in net worth, that is simply I spend a dollar. How many times did it turn over, and how many times that’s spent a month is very, very low so our cash is not moving. But we have wonderful incubators. We have 700 research labs around the country affiliated with universities. In corporate labs, they’ve done amazing work in the green space. All sitting there waiting to just surge forward and just kick the renewable economy forward. We’ve had a security economy since 9/11. John Shegerian: Right. Paul Boardman: And now we’re moving into the clean economy, and it’s very, very exciting because it’s about energy, it’s about renewables. When people say, “How do we move the economy forward?” Well, we’re not going to smokestack the economy forward. Nobody wants that. If you Google what the consumer wants, they’re not interested in nonbiodegradables in their landfills. They want clean food, they want clean water, they want a better life. It’s ingenuity to build a better life. That’s what we do. That’s how it has to move forward. I see it very clearly that incentives to move us forward in that direction are the way to go, and this is the arena project that we’re working on, this complex to integrate the lost Well Building Standards, the Building Challenge Standards, the U.S. Green Building LEED Council Standard. All those. We don’t have an outside limit on where we’ll go. We’re incubating and bringing all the best practices we can possibly bring into that facility. John Shegerian: Well, I want to step back then, Paul, and I want you to share what is – let’s start with just ground zero – what is Lakeshore Family Sports, and how did you come up with that vision, and when did you come up with that vision? Paul Boardman: Well, we’ve now been into this process three years, and Lakeshore Family Sports is a different economic model. It is a nonprofit structure, and it will own and operate a 6,000-capacity for hockey, 7,000 for basketball, 8,000 for center stage concerts facility. John Shegerian: OK. Paul Boardman: That will go as far as we can to reach these standards. And it’s in a complex that has now become a 44-acre sustainable complex integrating other capabilities. Our partners are HOK – the architecture firm – Waste Management, Skanska – a construction company – and Panasonic. Panasonic is no longer building TVs. They’re a full integrator of solar capabilities and they are building sustainable communities and towns around the world so they have a lot of experience with this and helping put all those standards into this complex. So we partner with corporations – like Aramark as well – and what they like to do in that sustainable park or complex. John Shegerian: Got you. That’s so interesting. So you came up with this three years ago. So how do you even start? You are not in West L.A. anymore. You’re in the Indiana area, correct? Paul Boardman: I’m outside of Chicago on Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana. We’re just about 15 miles from the steel mills. It’s a great location. Valparaiso University has been good. They have a LEED Platinum engineering school. This is a place where people build things. There is no lack of people that want to build, make, engineer. But there is an employment issue. So it’s about kicking up the economy and attributing the built environment. When I say a “nonprofit organization,” that allows us to fundraise for our project around the country. And we are. That’s one of the ways that we’re funding our project is through crowdsourcing throughout the country. We’ll go anywhere we need to go, and people that are interesting in seeing a facility that is on the cutting edge do this and help lead the way, those are the people and organizations, nonprofits and corporations that we work with as well as sponsorships and so forth to make it happen. The hope is that we’ll roll out a 2.0, 3.0 version in other parts of the country. This serves the community so well because the resources come in, you buy a ticket and then it goes – in our case – a percentage of that will go to help the local sports teams and clubs for youth in the community. So we are not extracting the resources. We’re putting them back into the community as a nonprofit organization. So we had sports- John Shegerian: How much – right. Go on. Go ahead, Paul. Sorry. Paul Boardman: Sporting events, lots of entertainment events, and it’s just a wonderful way to serve the community. John Shegerian: And so when you set out to do this – and now you’ve built a whole plan around this – how much is it going to cost to get the arena built and finalized and operational? Paul Boardman: The arena number – and this is where we’re at an incubator phase – unfortunately, the lost folks have – they do a lot of pilots. So when you sit down and say with your architects and so forth, “Hey, what does the greenest most sustainable building look like and what does it cost?” We have estimates around $120 million to $130 million and we’re refining that. Fortunately, the lost folks are going to be doing a pilot on arenas like they have done and they bring all their scientists together to help us understand every little bit of what could be more sustainable in that building, and they work with our architects and designers and so forth. So they’ve done that in the retail space and in the commercial space. They said, “All right, we’re going to get the best and brightest together around the world and sit around a table and say what elements of sustainability should be in that building, and how do we integrate that, and what is out there in the research labs and how could we bring that together?” I contend that the next economy is – integration is king. Not cash. We have plenty of cash. But it’s that process of bringing the analysts together to put together the best, most sustainable, well-governed structure. John Shegerian: Got it. And so how long will it take you to raise this capital? And talk a little bit about the crowdsourcing and other sources that you’re using for the capital. Paul Boardman: Well, we’ve had good success from corporations potentially looking at it as an internal crowdsource through their sustainable programs and as well as nonprofits around the country. So we’re not going to raise all of that 130 million that way. We’ll be debt financing. The point is a lot of arenas – as you know – over the last 30 or 40 years, they are funded through municipal dollars, bond issues and so forth. This is a smaller secondary market arena. It’s not an NFL stadium where you get $200 million from the NFL and then you do a surcharge on the tickets and you do a little bit of this, a little bit of that and you have your $900 million. It takes a very short period of time because you have a built-in ticket sales and it’s a mature structure. This is a startup in a secondary market – meaning outside of a major market like Chicago – to serve that community of maybe a million people, and that’s really what we’re serving here in Northwest Indiana’s business community, and synergizing that. That environment – we’ll do debt financing and the goal is to be able to reach our standards, to be able to go as far as we want with our sustainability. That independence helps us. So we’re trying to not do any government funding just because it may take longer, and I enjoy the process of doing fundraisers around the country and the crowdsourcing. It builds a relationship as well as it helps tell the story of what we’re doing and how other people can do the same thing. John Shegerian: And so where are you in the evolution? How far until you see the arena get built and it serves as a new paradigm for the clean and green revolution that is now here upon us in America? Paul Boardman: Well, here we are. I started three years ago with talking to folks in the community. John Shegerian: Yeah. Paul Boardman: I visited 30 facilities around the country. John Shegerian: Wow. Paul Boardman: I have educated myself. And we’re three years in, and it’s grown from being just an arena now to being a complex of 10 other development areas that could even include e-racing. So we’re looking at all those things. We expect that in the next year we can break ground. John Shegerian: Wow. Paul Boardman: And that is because of the fact that we want that highest level of integration and that’s quite an undertaking as I’ve learned. John Shegerian: Huge. Paul Boardman: It is a huge undertaking. It’s a huge undertaking. John Shegerian: Yeah. Paul Boardman: It’s time well spent and it will be an attraction. John Shegerian: For our listeners who have just joined us, we’ve got Paul Boardman with us today. He is the Founder and Chairman of Lakeshore Family Sports. You can learn more about Paul and Lakeshore Family Sports at www.DunelandSports.org. So now you’re in this journey. How did you get all these amazing and great brands – HOK, Panasonic, Sysco, Aramark, Waste Management – how did you get them all to join with your vision towards building this wonderful complex called Lakeshore Family Sports? Paul Boardman: Well, they’re already – it’s all about integration in our society today. They all have mature products that need to be integrated with other products to build something fantastic. So it’s really a matter of selling them on that vision and having a good plan, and we have a good plan. My background as an advocate – I think – helps a bit. Persistence. I’m 100-percent passionate about it. I’ve spent a lot of research understanding the dynamic of where we are with the economy. I believe 100 percent that it is the integrated and that analytic process that is going to move our society forward, that ingenuity to build a better life. And that’s what we all embrace – I think – in America. And we want that. We want cleaner, greener, more efficient, less waste. These are the goals of our society. I think that’s been spoken out there very clearly with the consumer desires and what they’re saying. And of course we spent 3 trillion federal dollars on federal research labs. They’re cooking with new capabilities. Then those have been funded – other large corporations. So you just look at Tesla, you look at Panasonic, you look at Waste Management, they all have R&D and they’re pushing that curve. So we, as a society, need more projects like this to push that curve and integrate with those companies and bring them to the table. John Shegerian: Is it your thesis, Paul, that we can’t leave behind the secondary markets – like where you’re building your center – in the clean and sustainable revolution? Paul Boardman: If you built an arena in a large market, and it’s been there five years or 10 years, it’s going to be difficult. You can retrofit that, but it’s going to be difficult to just start a brand new one and tear it down. It’s going to go through its lifecycle. There are secondary markets that have a need for entertainment. They have a need for sports, a lower cost. Their businesses have a need to communicate, thrive and participate and synergize so it’s part of a new economic development model. Keep in mind the corporations in America have $4 trillion in cash in the banks, and it’s hard to get that money out, and it’s not moving. It’s moving very slowly. They are the players. The Waste Managements – they have the resources. John Shegerian: Right. Paul Boardman: My contention is they just don’t have enough business plans, they don’t have enough projects and it’s very difficult to stand up and do these projects. John Shegerian: We’re down to the last five minutes or so. Where do you see, Paul, Lakeshore and your vision going in the next 10 years both locally in the area that you’re serving with the first arena but then nationally and beyond? Paul Boardman: Arenas are a wonderful place to educate people. You come in, you see and you experience these wonderful – it’s similar to life. You’ve got a passion. It’s a fantastic environment. You can see that there is camaraderie amongst the people, and it’s a wonderful showcase. So we’re building a model, and that model can be revised – 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 – as new capabilities come online. So the idea is to build that model in conjunction with the loss with the Living Building Council, with the Living Building Challenge and with the LEED folks, and then roll that out in other secondary markets and serve those communities. John Shegerian: Got you. Paul Boardman: You may be looking at between 10 or 20 different facilities over a 20-year period of time. John Shegerian: And where will you take it after you do Lakeshore? Where would be the next community? Are you already in discussions with other communities and other areas, and how has that been going? Paul Boardman: Well, I’ve had folks come to me and say, “That might be a good idea for our community,” and we’ve had some interest in Florida and New York, Texas, California. I’ve had some interest come out of Louisiana and Minnesota. So I’ve had someone say, “Hey, we’ve got an aging facility and we’d like to maybe have one in our community,” so we’re a bit overwhelmed, but we have to build the model first. John Shegerian: Right. Paul Boardman: And we need all the capabilities that we just talked about – all those organizations coming together to build that model. Of course that model is available for other folks to step up and utilize. So it’s not about enriching Paul Boardman. It’s about building a model that everybody can have access to. We’re a nonprofit. Our arenas are nonprofits to serve the community, especially, and to be economic developers and help create jobs. We do things that – we want everybody to have a 401k matching program. If we’re going to have our facility management people, we want everyone to have an opportunity to create a little wealth from their work. We want to do local food sourcing. There is just no end to all that integration capability that we need to put into the structure to serve the people better. John Shegerian: Got you. We’re down to the last two minutes or so. Share a little bit about your journey being a green entrepreneur and words of wisdom you could share backwards with the next young generation coming up that want to be the next Paul Boardman. Paul Boardman: It’s so exciting. There is so much interest and so much acceptance, and it’s almost a coordination job. We’ve come to a point where our society is accepting. We need to build these relationships, and the barriers that may have been there in the past just aren’t there, so you have to think “2015” and just do it and just go out there and make it happen and move it forward, and you’re going go to find wonderful opportunity, even in places you think they might not be. For example, you say, “Oh, maybe utility would be against this,” and you find that they’re more than happy to embrace purchasing your electricity or what have you. It’s really astounding and fantastic. John Shegerian: That’s wonderful, and that is some great words of wisdom for the next generation. And for our listeners out there that would like to learn more about Paul and also his great company – Lakeshore Family Sports – please go to www.DunelandSports.org. Paul, we want you to come back on Green Is Good in the future to talk about the evolution that you’re working on and how the project is going. I just want to say personally thank you for being living proof that Green Is Good.