Cobo Center: Detroit’s Premier Meeting Space

Located downtown, Cobo Center is one of the premier convention venues in Detroit. As the 17th-largest convention center in the U.S., it has over 2.4 million square feet of meeting space and a range of new developments on the way.

Cobo Center also just finished a $279 million renovation, which more than doubled the use of the facility. The project included the revamped, 40,000-square-foot Grand Riverview Ballroom and a wealth of technology updates.

When it comes to finding the perfect destination for your next business meeting or event, Cobo Center is equipped with everything you need. Here’s what it has to offer.

Meeting space

Cobo Center is equipped with five exhibit halls, eight banquet rooms, and over 100 meeting rooms. It even features an open-air terrace overlooking the Detroit River and the skyline of Windsor, Ontario.

The renovation also encompassed 45,000 feet of outdoor flex space. This includes a new terrace called Cobo Square, which offers an outside reception area for events. It can host biergartens, outdoor fitness events, art fairs, corporate game events, movie viewings, and more.

“I think the most important part of the reinvention of Cobo Center was the adaptive reuse of the old arena,” says Thom Connors, who served as regional vice president of SMG and general manager of Cobo Center during the renovation. “By cutting part of it away and creating a new atrium, it really tied the whole renovation together and gave the view from the main concourse out to the river and across to Canada. It brings people down to the newer, improved south side of the building and the majesty of the river.”


Cobo Center is only 20 miles from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. It even has its own People Mover station inside, providing easy access to many downtown hotels, restaurants, and shops. Cobo Center visitors can also get around via the new QLine streetcar, which runs through midtown and stops at museums, universities, research institutes, and sports venues.

Cobo is even internationally accessible, with a tunnel to Canada just two blocks from the facility.

Green initiatives

Cobo Center is committed to being a leader in environmental friendliness. That’s why it runs a range of programs to help visitors, partners, and employees practice sustainability.

For instance, it features a glass-enclosed concourse and three-story glass atrium that provide enough natural light to minimize lighting usage. Centerplate, Cobo Center’s food and beverage provider, also donates unused food to Forgotten Harvest, a local company that delivers the food to pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters throughout Michigan.

Coming in 2018, Cobo Center will feature a 10,000-square-foot living green roof and observation area, which will create a natural habitat for birds and insects.

“Last year, we installed honeybee hives and saw our living roof and organic herb gardens thrive,” says Claude Molinari, the current general manager of Cobo Center. “Next year, we will create an observation area, with murals and signage, overlooking the living green roof to bring our visitors more information on these features.”

Facility-wide technology

Cobo Center offers free, high-speed Wi-Fi coverage, an in-house broadcast studio and command center, and state-of-the-art digital displays. It also just completed a $2 million wireless technology upgrade, providing stronger Wi-Fi and more access points throughout the venue. This allows 32,000 people to be on the network at the same time.

“We are creating a network that will accommodate the largest technology power-using events in the industry,” Molinari says. “We are particularly going after e-sports events and trade shows with augmented-reality or virtual-reality exhibits, expecting them to be a wave of the future.”

Meeting planners can also build custom Wi-Fi access splash pages for their events, which can be sponsored to create opportunities to drive revenue.

“With the recent upgrades, our Technology Services Department can now customize a network for the most tech-hungry events on the planet,” Molinari says. “We are ready to welcome events and visitors to the future in Cobo Center.”

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