Finally, Cobo Hall Expands For NAIAS

With the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) just around the corner, the managers of Detroit's Cobo Hall, which hosts the event, are finally doing something they haven't done in years: expanding. The hall will get a $300 million, 25,000-square-foot expansion and other renovations. Officials hosted a walking tour Tuesday to give journalists a peek at the renovations and additions, even as crews work to get the existing portions in place for the annual show.

"We've come a long way in a short time," said Thom Connors, Cobo Center general manager. "The people working here are passionate about making it better."

The project involved expanding a loading dock and enclosing an existing dock, which makes it easier to maintain and reduces energy costs. Upgrades also include a food court and lighting improvements.

In the arena portion of the hall, traditionally Ford's stomping grounds, the seats have been torn out, the walls knocked in and concrete rubble rests on the ground. But by this time next year, Cobo officials promise it will be transformed into the largest ballroom in Michigan, ready to host concerts, theatrical events and, of course, automotive displays.

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