New plan to improve Cobo Hall moves forward

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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