DETROIT (WWJ) – Work gets underway Thursday on the long-awaited renovations to Detroit’s Cobo Center. 

The first steel girders will be put in place as part of the  25,000 square foot expansion of the exhibit halls at Cobo.  The work was scheduled to be done Wednesday, but was delayed because of the weather.    

Detroit Regional Convention Facility Board Member Waymon Guillebeaux said Cobo will have more space and look very different when the project is all done.

“Currently we have the Cobo Arena, which has a totally distinct operation from the Cobo Convention Center. Well, now we’re going to combine them so the Cobo Arena will become part of the overall Convention Center. So, our new ballroom, for example, will be out of the Cobo arena footprint,” Guillebeaux said.

The expansion of the exhibit halls should be done in time for next year’s North American International Auto Show.

Guillebeaux thinks the new Cobo will help improve the Auto Show, as well as attracting other shows to the city. 

“I think it’s going to com in handy for selling additional shows, especially when we get the treatment, the new facelift to our south at Atwater. That glass atrium entrance will become, I think, an attraction,” Guillebeaux said.

Phase two of the Cobo expansion will cost around 12 million dollars and should be finished by November. Phase three of the project will take until 2014 with a price tag of $220 million.

Click here to view artist renderings of the Cobo Center renovation.


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