Cobo Center Exterior

(credit: George Fox/WWJ)

After Calls To Remove Racist Mayor's Name, Chemical Bank Buys Rights To Re-Name Cobo Center

Calls to change the name have been intensifying.

February 20, 2019 - 11:07 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - Cobo Center in downtown Detroit is getting a new name.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, alongside executives with the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, announced Wednesday morning that Chemical Bank has been awarded the naming rights for the center, which will last until 2041. The company will pay $1.5 million a year for the rights. 

"Our world-class convention center now has a world-class corporate partner in Chemical Bank," Duggan said in a statement. "We couldn’t be more proud of the investments Chemical Bank is making in our city, from its new headquarters to its support for our Strategic Neighborhood Fund."

It's not yet clear what the center will be called, but a new name is expected to be announced by the end of 2019. Until then, the Cobo name will stand. 

Since Chemical Bank is merging with TCF Bank, many are speculating the new building will be known as the TCF Convention Center. 

Calls to rename the center have intensified in recent years, with many saying the surname of a former mayor known for his racist policies should be removed. Albert Cobo, who served as mayor from 1950 to 1957, sought to keep blacks out of predominantly white neighborhoods.

Opened in 1960, Cobo is the 17th largest convention center in the United States. Cobo Center is the home of the North American International Auto Show among many other notable national and international conventions and events. 

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