$279 million renovation to Detroit's Cobo Center is now in its third phase and on budget

Posted on March 25, 2013

DETROIT, MI – The $279 million renovation of the Cobo Center remains on budget and should be complete by January 2015, according to an annual progress report released Wednesday.

At March 1, the project is 49 percent finished, with $139 million spent. It has since crossed the halfway point in terms of completion.

An upcoming milestone for the three-phase renovation of Detroit’s main exhibition center comes this summer, when the Atrium and Grand Ballroom open. The 40,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, which overlooks the Detroit River, will have standing room for 5,000 people, seating room for 3,600 people theater-style and a 2,500-person capacity when it’s set up for banquets. There will be 11 new meeting and breakout rooms below the ballroom.

Below is a breakdown of each phase, its cost, and details on what has been completed and what has yet to be done, as provided by the Cobo Center:

“Phase 1 ($3.25 million) Completed January 2010 on time and on budget
(Upgrades in place for the 2010 North American International Auto Show)
• First phase of exhibition hall electrical power improvements to reduce customer cost
• Exhibition hall roof leak reduction
• First phase of the exhibition hall floor box upgrade to eliminate leaks

Phase 2 ($46.94 million)
Completed January 2012 on time and on budget
(Upgrades in place for the 2012 North American International Auto Show)

• 2a ($20.47 million)
o Infrastructure upgrades in areas not included in major projects
o Improve air handling system to improve efficiency and extend life
o Plumbing system upgrades, including exhibition halls
o Compressed air system upgrade
o Fire protection system upgrades
o Install centrally monitored parking revenue control system
o Additional roof leak reduction and partial reroofing
o Installed energy efficient lighting for a 60 percent energy savings in 700,000 square feet of exhibition halls
o Upgraded closed-circuit television security system
o Improved communications infrastructure
o New access control system
o Concrete floor renewal, especially in loading docks and exhibition halls

• 2b ($26.47 million)
o Enclosure of loading docks for major energy use reduction and significantly improved materials handling
o Second phase of exhibition hall power upgrade
o Creation of covered, secured parking under Detroit Hall (Congress Street Garage) to provide 420 sheltered parking spaces with direct access to main concourse.
o Addition of 22,500 square feet of exhibition space and loading docks contiguous with existing docks
o Continue the building reroofing
o Energy savings in 2012 were approximately $2 million

Phase 3 ($228.8 million)
(Scheduled for full completion January 2015, with portions finished before then, as noted)

• 3a ($34.9 million)
o Reconstruction of Washington Boulevard parking garage, including floor replacement (Reopened December 2012)
o Reconstruction of Atwater Street parking garage as flexible use space. (Scheduled for completion December 2013)
o Creation of drop-off/turn around on Civic Center Drive to support Atrium and Joe Louis Arena traffic. (Completed October 2012)
o Modify Civic Center Drive/Jefferson Avenue connection to eliminate ramp through Atwater Garage and to create plaza adjacent to Food Court and Grand Ballroom. (Scheduled for completion December 2013)
o Reconstruct rooftop parking area to replace concrete, drainage system and parapet, install solar-powered lighting, improve building entrances, and insulate roof. Finish reroofing program. Install backup electrical power system. Finish upgrades to HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, electrical, lighting and communications systems. Install additional energy-efficient lighting. (Scheduled for completion October 2014).

• 3b ($193.9 million)
o Construct new 30,000-square-foot Atrium. (Scheduled for completion July 2013)
o Redevelop the former Cobo Arena as a 40,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, with pre-function area, new central kitchen, Food Court and additional meeting rooms. (Scheduled for completion July 2013)
o Redevelop south side of building along the Detroit River to reorganize space and create pre-function areas, new meeting and breakout rooms, two new junior ballrooms, and integrate the space with new Atrium. Create back-of-house storage and service circulation areas. Create new glass-enclosed exterior wall. Extend modernized and upgraded building safety systems into this section. Add escalators and elevators to access the new entrance and drop-off adjacent to Joe Louis Arena. (Exterior wall, and Level 2 scheduled for completion December 2013; remaining items scheduled for completion December 2014)
o Redevelop east façade, with new exterior skin to improve appearance and energy efficiency. Create lounge seating overlooking main concourse. Install 4,800-square-foot and 2,900-square-foot high-tech “video walls” into a new entrance canopy and north atrium. (Scheduled for completion December 2013)
o Redevelop east side of building to make its customer space and circulation areas compatible in design with other new parts of Cobo Center. Create more usable space in the main concourse. Consolidate existing food areas with the new Food Court. Reconfigure current offices as rentable customer space. (Scheduled for completion December 2014)
o Redevelop Michigan Hall to coordinate its appearance with the new Atrium. Install energy-efficient lighting. Update communications infrastructure. (Scheduled for completion December 2014)
o Create new building offices to increase rental space available to customers in central areas, and improve access to service and customer areas. (Scheduled for completion December 2013)”

David Muller, mlive.com.