Cobo Center, originally known as Cobo Hall, is a major convention center situated along Jefferson Ave. in downtown Detroit, Michigan. It and the adjacent Cobo Arena are named for Albert E. Cobo, mayor of Detroit from 1950 to 1957. Designed by Gino Rossetti, both Cobo Hall and Cobo Arena opened in 1960. Expanded in 1989, the present 2,400,000 square foot complex contains 700,000 square feet of exhibition space. Preliminary construction to update and further expand the center's exhibition space to 866 000 square feet began October 1, 2009.[1] Cobo Center, adjacent Joe Louis Arena with seating capacity of 21,066 is served by the Detroit People Mover with its own station. Cobo Center has a large attached parking garage with direct access to the Lodge Freeway. Cobo Center is located along the Detroit International Riverfront.

The center is the home of the North American International Auto Show or NAIAS, which is hosts each January, and Autorama, which is hosts each March. There are about 5,000 hotel rooms in downtown Detroit with 4,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of Cobo Hall.[2]

Cobo Arena

Cobo Arena is a 12,191-seat indoor arena adjacent to Cobo Center. It was the home of the Detroit Pistons (1961-1978), the Michigan Stags of the WHA (1974-1975), the Detroit Ambassadors of the Ontario Hockey League (1990-1992), the Detroit Dogs of the American Basketball Association (2000-2001), the Detroit Rockers of the National Professional Soccer League (along with Joe Louis Arena) from 1990-2001, and the University of Detroit Mercy men's basketball team (along with Calihan Hall). The facility also hosted the 1990-1992 Mid-American Conference men's basketball tournaments. The arena is currently the home of the Detroit Derby Girls roller derby league.

On January 6, 1994, Cobo Arena was the site of the infamous assault on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. During a practice session for the US Figure Skating Championships (being held next door at Joe Louis Arena), Kerrigan was hit in the knee with a collapsible baton by Shane Stant. The assault was planned by rival Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and friend Shawn Eckardt.

Cobo Arena has regularly served as a concert venue for acts of all genres. Concert albums by Madonna (Live - The Virgin Tour), KISS (Alive! - Including the iconic arena photo on the album's back cover), Bob Seger (Live Bullet), Kid Rock (Live Trucker) The Tragically Hip (Live Between Us), Journey (Captured), Yes (Yesshows), The J. Geils Band (Blow Your Face Out), and The Doors (Live in Detroit) were all recorded, in whole or in part, in the arena.

The facility also hosted the returning edition of WWE Saturday Night's Main Event on March 18, 2006.

On October 4, 2008, hip hop artist Jay-Z held a free concert at Cobo Arena in support for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and to encourage younger voters to register by the voter registration deadline.

On September 25 and 26, 2009, Kiss performed at the Cobo Arena wanting to play there one last time before it was supposed to be torn down to expand cobo center.[1] Kiss bassist Gene Simmons stated in a radio interview on August 21 on Detroit's classic rock station WCSX that Kiss was planning on performing all the songs from the album Alive! in order and that the show was to be recorded and released on DVD.[2] But as of 2011 nothing has been said about the DVD.


Governor Jennifer Granholm signed legislation on July 2, 2009, introduced by Representative Shanelle Jackson (D-Detroit), to allow for a nearly $300 million renovation and expansion of Cobo Center.[1] The legislation created a five-member board, appointed by the governor, the City of Detroit, and Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties to oversee the operation of the center with the city retaining ownership.[1] The project began October 1, 2009.[1] Redevelopment design concepts include the addition of glass walls to connect the complex with the waterfront.[3] A strategic plan accepted by the board recommends a planned expansion.[4][5] The project is expected to begin July 2011 in order to be ready for the 2014 North American International Auto Show in January, with the remainder of the project scheduled to be completed by December 2014.[6]

Photo gallery


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Nichols, Darren A. (July 3, 2009).Granholm signs bill to expand Cobo Center. The Detroit News. Retrieved on July 5, 2009.
  2. Gray, Kathleen and John Wisely (March 31, 2009).Oakland lures, but 2010 auto show stays at Cobo.Detroit Free Press. Retrieved on April 10, 2009.
  3. Gallagher, John (November, 30, 2009).In Detroit, Ideas for Cobo Not So Far-Fetched. Detroit Free Press, Architect Magazine.
  4. WXYX News 7 (July 1, 2010).Strategic plan for Cobo announced. Retrieved on September 18, 2010.
  5. Green, Charles K. (December 15, 2010). NAIAS Visitors Will See Cobo Center Updates.Auto Trends Magazine. Retrieved on December 15, 2010.
  6. Cobo Center transformation

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