Detroit Approves Plan to Update, Expand Cobo Center

A strategic plan to upgrade and expand Detroit's aging convention center has been approved by the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA), the Associated Press reported early this month.

Although it said adding significant floor space to the Cobo Center should not be a "near-term priority," the plan nonetheless calls for adding up to 50,000 square feet of additional exhibit space, as well as reconfiguring the south end of the downtown convention center and making extensive interior upgrades to the facility's existing meeting and ballroom space.

"An immediate needs expansion in the short term allows us to best serve our customers today while paying close attention to market demands," DRCFA Chairman Larry Alexander said in a statement. "The next step is to transform Cobo Center into a destination location for local residents and national visitors, which will generate more revenue for the facility to operate well into the future."

The North American International Auto Show, which takes place at Cobo each January, has said the convention center needs to be larger if the event is to remain competitive. According to the strategic plan that was approved this month, however, the facility already can accommodate approximately 90 percent of the existing national convention and trade show industry.