by Matt Alderton | July 23, 2013
Last week, the City of Detroit did something municipalities almost never do: It filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Despite the July 18 filing, however — the largest ever bankruptcy filing by a U.S. city — Detroit remains a viable destination for meetings and conventions, insists the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB), which reportedly has promised a “seamless” experience for groups meeting there now and in the future.

“The private sector has invested in Detroit at unprecedented levels over the past two years, bringing in close to 12,000 new employees and $11 billion in new economic development,” DMCVB President and CEO Larry Alexander said, according to industry news reports. “Officials managing the bankruptcy recognize that visitors and conventions are key to a successful city and will work hand in hand with the private sector to continue the positive momentum in Detroit.”

The city’s convention center — which is in the midst of a $279 million renovation — echoed DMCVB’s sentiment, as did the organizers of its highest-profile convention, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

“The Cobo Convention Center is an independent regional entity funded by its revenue and the state of Michigan. It is not an asset of the city of Detroit and it has never been more financially stable than it is today,” Cobo Center officials said in a statement.

Added NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts in a separate statement: “The Detroit Chapter 9 bankruptcy has been anticipated for some time and will have no impact on the North American International Auto Show. It was a good decision, given the state of affairs of the city over the past decade, and will give Detroit an opportunity to move forward by relieving the city of a legacy of liabilities — giving it a fresh start. That was the sole purpose. The direction by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is the right one, and will help Detroit turn the corner.

“As for the NAIAS, quite interestingly, there is no impact. Since Cobo Center became independent of the city and is managed and operated by a regional authority, no funding from the city is needed for Cobo. The NAIAS is also an independent organization and will not be impacted in our operation or funding, although we do work with all the city municipalities in the region, including the City of Detroit, and will continue to do so.”

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