Resurgence of Detroit's Cobo Center includes both transformation of the facility and operations
Thom Connors, SMG regional vice president and general manager of Cobo Center, announced the onset of construction for the new "signature space" for Cobo Center. Well into stage one of Phase III of the five-year renovation, spacious three-story glass atrium that links the main floor of the venue with a new entrance facing the Detroit River, is scheduled for completion in January 2013, in time for the North American International Auto Show. When completed, the atrium area will bring the lower-level exhibition space more naturally into the facility and link Cobo Center more fully to Detroit's scenic riverfront.
"Today's the day when the caterpillar officially enters its cocoon and begins its transformation into a butterfly," said Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority board chair Larry Alexander. "When complete, this area will be the most visually dramatic and breathtaking manifestation of physical change to the facility."
Internal demolition on the former Cobo Arena is complete, and new glass exterior, a 40,000 square-foot ballroom and 25,000 square-feet of meeting space will take its place, scheduled to come online in May 2013.
Construction has not interrupted Cobo Center operations, which was assumed by SMG in October of 2010, when the DRCFA hired the company to manage operations at Cobo Center.
Connors, a 37-year veteran with SMG, came aboard as general manager to improve customer service, change the corporate culture and stabilize operational finances.
"Attendance was up this year for our two largest shows, the North American International Auto Show and Autorama," said Connors. "The construction areas have been successfully isolated from events and we are open for business."