For almost sixty years, the iconic “COBO” has appeared prominently at Detroit’s downtown convention center. That will change very soon.
In February this year, Chemical Bank bought the naming rights from the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority for $33 million over the next 22 years. The bank has since completed a $3.6 billion merger with TCF Bank, now the owner of the rights.
The new name will be unveiled at a 10 a.m. news conference on Tuesday, August 27. According to Crain’s Detroit Business, the bank has said in the past that the convention hall will be called TCF Center.
Following the press conference, the bank is hosting a block party from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. outside the convention center’s entrance. The day-long celebration will feature free food catered by Slow’s BBQ, Centerplate, and frozen treats provided by Detroit Water Ice Factory. There will also be interactive games and several musical performances.
To help increase attendance, TCF Bank is sponsoring free DDOT bus rides on all downtown routes the day of the party.
Starting around 2017, there had been a consistent push to change the name of the Cobo Center. Mayor Albert Cobo ran Detroit from 1950-1957 during its economic and population peak. But he was also an ardent segregationist who razed thriving black neighborhoods like Paradise Valley and Black Bottom in the name of “urban renewal” and freeway construction. His legacy has undergone a reevaluation in recent years—the Detroit Free Press rated him the fourth worst mayor in Detroit’s history.
But on Tuesday, that will be cast aside, at least in the name of a prominent downtown building.
“The goal there is to really share the renaming of the convention center, to celebrate it, and bring everyone together and have some fun,” Amie Hoffner, vice president of corporate communications at TCF Bank, told Crain’s.