Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Cobo Center

Cobo Center, known locally as Cobo Hall, is Detroit’s convention center.  It is located along the Detroit riverfront on Jefferson Avenue, just west of Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. Named for Albert E. Cobo, mayor of Detroit from 1950 to 1957, Cobo Center was designed by Gino Rossetti and opened in 1960. Cobo Center was expanded in 1989, and the present complex of 2,400,000 square feet includes 700,000 square feet of exhibition space.  Cobo Center also includes banquet rooms and 80 meeting rooms.

Events held at Cobo Center include the annual North American International Auto Show, the International G-7 Job Summit, the annual Society of Automotive Engineers International Congress, and the world's largest sit-down dinner, hosted by the Detroit NAACP Freedom Institute.

Until September 2009, Cobo Center was owned and operated by the City of Detroit.  On September 15, 2009, the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA) took over operations of Cobo Center under a collaborative agreement with the Michigan State Legislature, the City of Detroit, and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. According to the DRCFA website, “The Authority is comprised of five board members appointed to represent the respective interests of the state of Michigan, the city of Detroit, and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The Authority has been widely heralded as southeastern Michigan's first major step towards true regional cooperation.” (http://www.drcfa.org/test/aboutus.html)

In 2009, the DRFCA began a $278 million upgrade to Cobo Center.  By the end of 2009, the DRFCA had made $3 million in improvements to the facility, including an electrical upgrade, upgrades to the loading dock’s concrete, and repairs to leaks in the roof.  By January 2011, the DRFCA had added new food and entertainment features to Cobo Center, including coffee stand, an Andiamo’s restaurant and a food court. The next phase of renovations will address heating and ventilation systems, lighting and other facility needs.



Cobo Hall Post Folder, 1964

Photograph of Cobo Hall, 1962

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