Cobo Center Unveils Dramatic New Atrium and Ballroom

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR

Detroit, MI – The ribbon was cut on the new ballroom and atrium at Cobo Center on September 7, marking a milestone in the ambitious and stunning overhaul of the Motor City’s convention center.

City leaders and guests were hosted by the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority and SMG at a reception that provided an up-close look at the 40,000 square foot Grand Riverview Ballroom and the Cobo Center Atrium, which provides 30,000 square feet of contiguous space. The level below the ballroom has 21,000 square feet of new meeting space.

Construction on the atrium and ballroom began in February 2012 as part of a $279 million renovation that will be completed in 2015. The remaining work includes a television production studio with satellite uplink capability, an 8,000 square foot high-end kitchen, a Chef’s Table tasting room, a food court, cyber café, an underground parking garage, and a terrace overlooking the Detroit River for use as function space.

Oh Canada!
The scenic Detroit River is a key ingredient in the Cobo renovation. The ballroom and atrium both have plenty of glass, which provides panoramic views of the water and Windsor, Ontario on the other bank. Previously, the 12,000-seat Cobo Arena occupied the ballroom space and virtually blocked off any view of the river.

But the new features at Cobo offer more than nice scenery. The ballroom has a 40-foot high ceiling with rigging capacity, and the floor includes a stage on a hydraulic lift that allows for dramatic entrances or product unveilings. The atrium is three stories tall with room for 1,200 people  at receptions or 600 seated for a meal.

Overall, Cobo Center has 722,500 square feet of prime exhibit space, making it the 17th-largest convention center in the U.S., according to Trade Show Executive’s World’s Top Convention Centers rankings.

Reach Thom Connors, SMG regional vice president and general manager of Cobo Center, at (313) 877-8777 or tconnors@smgworld.com