Ironworkers raise final beam for Cobo Center atrium scheduled for completion in time for 2013 NAIAS

Oct 15, 2012

DETROIT October 8, 2012 -- Thom Connors, SMG regional vice president and general manager of Cobo Center announced today the installation of the uppermost, 12.5 ton beam in the new riverfront atrium frame of the Cobo renovation. Midwest Steel, contracted for the renovation iron work, ceremoniously placed a six foot Douglas fir tree on top of the beam, a Scandinavian custom going back 1,000 years as a symbol of growth and good luck. The tree will later be planted to commemorate the event.

“The new glass atrium will be a signature space in the new Cobo, and open the facility to the Detroit River with spectacular views,” said Connors. “It will be ready for use in time for the 2013 North American International Auto Show in January, and 735,000 attendees will enjoy the view.”

The adjacent ballroom is still under construction, an adaptive re-use of the Cobo arena space. The 40,000 ballroom with exterior food court, administrative offices and meeting rooms will be available for galas in late May of 2013. The atrium top beam, placed 90 feet high, will create a level roofline between the facility and new ballroom space.

The massive project is drawing industry attention and business to the facility. “Bookings are strong with recent confirmation of citywide events into 2016,” said Connors. “And the increase in sales inquiries has been phenomenal.”

When the $299 million transformation is completed in 2014, the Cobo Center will offer total of 723,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 40,000 square foot, dividable ballroom, 100 meeting/breakout rooms, 2,200 parking spaces, and 31 loading docks.

About Cobo Center: With 725,000 square feet of exhibit space, Cobo Center boasts one of the largest contiguous exhibit floor spaces in North America and is the 19th largest convention center in the country. Visit online at

About SMG: Since 1977, SMG has provided management services to more than 220 public assembly facilities including arenas, stadiums, theatres and performing arts centers, equestrian facilities and convention, congress and exhibition centers. Visit for more information.

About the DRCFA: On 9/15/09, operational control of Cobo Center transferred to the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, under a collaborative agreement by the Michigan State Legislature, the City of Detroit, and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Each of these entities has an appointed member on the DRCFA Board. Larry Alexander is Chairman the Board as the member appointed by the Governor of the State of Michigan. For more information visit: