• Jan 19, 2008
Detroit may be the host of one of North America's largest auto shows, but Cobo Hall is far from the continent's best conference facility. It's dated and small, and larger venues like Chicago's McCormick place and the LA Convention Center are more modern and accommodating to automaker displays. Officials from area counties are attempting to work together to expand and modernize the aging facility with plans that include an additional 120,000 square feet of floor space and a walkway between Cobo and the Renaissance Center. Said officials are currently bickering over the total cost of the plan, which ranges between $595 million and $846 million. The financially ailing state of Michigan is willing to contribute $150 million to the cause, but county executives need to bury the hatchet and hammer out a deal that greatly improves a building that in LA or New York would likely have been bulldozed or completely overhauled long ago. If area executives need any more incentive to move on a solution, this year's show features 58 major introductions, compared to 76 just three years ago.

Michigan residents should be excited about a new plan, but we've heard about a new plan every year since before anyone can remember. As Detroit loses some of its grip on the US auto industry, however, it seems to be becoming more and more evident to politicians that hosting North America's premiere automotive showcase isn't an inalienable right. If the movers and shakers in the Detroit area can't get the job done, it could soon be curtains for Detroit's single largest annual event.

[Source: Detroit News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yeah, well try to tell all the people losing their jobs about this alleged renaissance.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well, no one is going to be left to enjoy it in a few years unless they do more than just update cobo center and make the downtown buildings pretty. Everyone is leaving. The state is too preoccupied with saving the UAW and manufacturing positions than the jobs of the (college educated young) people.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Not true, over the last 5 years Detroit saw a small renaissance and it looks like more companies are committing to establish their headquarters in Motown. But they still have a loooong way to go.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Detroit is toast.

      Just turn LA into the North American International Auto Show and be done with it.

      Who really wants to go to Detroit in January anyway?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Die.
        • 7 Years Ago
        ...LA? Why would they move NAIAS to a state that hates cars, detunes them, and only sells watered down gas?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Detroit,

      Change/modernize or suffer the like the slow moving big three and UAW. You were lucky to have the Super Bowl awared to you but that won't come again for at least a decade. NAIS is all you have left of significance so be warry that LA or NYC might steal it away.

      You have to pay to play.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Would have been done in NY by now?

      You obviously don't live here.......
        • 7 Years Ago
        Moving the Cobo or building a new center outside Detroit would only cause more dis-investment in the area. The cost is high, but if you take into the account of building parking decks, and that exhibition halls cost more per square foot because they are built with high ceilings, remember this is not a house or office building.

        Detroit either needs to pay for the expansion, namely the big 3 if they want to keep it on "home turf." Moving the NAIAS out of Detroit would only hurt them. If you have even been around Detroit you see the ratio of domestic to foreign cars on the road is far from what you see on the east coast or south (yet alone the west coast). If the Big 3 lose this audience of faithful enthusiasts visiting the NAIAS their presteige at the event will be lowered.

        With Porsche pulling out, this only makes the threat of losing even more imminent.
      • 7 Years Ago
      if they are going to spend that kind of money, build a whole new place in a different location where growth could occur around it. no one inside is looking at the river or the GM building anyway. the better access would also help. there is probably several better locations than where it is at.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I can't seem to find any articles but I guess a few years back there were some investors that wanted to build a "new" COBO hall somewhere outside of Detroit.

        That idea would have been better. I don't have a problem with the weather. I have walked 10+ blocks to the Detroit show a few times before. The fact that it is in downtown Detroit is (what I think) the biggest problem. I can't even count on both hands or feet how many times I have heard people say they won't go to the show just simply because it's in Detroit. Heck, build a new COBO in B.F.E. and I am sure attendance would rise like none other and NAIAS would once again show off Porsches (one of the biggest reasons why I went).