Cobo Expansion A Go Go?

A regional board has taken over operations of the Cobo Center in Detroit, leaving the future of the complex’s Cobo Arena uncertain.

While city officials voted down a proposal to expand the Center’s exhibition space and convert the Cobo Arena in February, demolition rumors regarding the venue have lingered.

Bill Lee, VP of sales and marketing for Olympia Entertainment, which manages and promotes the venue, told Pollstar the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority will “determine the timetable for the future expansion of Cobo Convention Center, which includes Cobo Arena.”

However, Lee declined to comment on whether DRCFA’s plans for the complex include keeping Olympia Entertainment on board at the arena.

Pollstar attempts to reach a DRCFA representative were unsuccessful at press time.

Detroit officials have scrambled to come up with a plan to update the aging Cobo Center and keep the North American International Auto Show in the city, which reportedly brings as much as $500 million to the region annually.

Renovation and expansion plans at the complex could top $288 million, and large-scale improvements at the facility would not begin until after the January auto show, authority chairman Larry Alexander said.

“We’ve lost 2009 because of the legal battles taking place throughout the first part of the year,” Alexander said. “But 2010 has a lot more business and a lot more groups coming into the facility. We have to look at the schedule of events taking place so we can begin to move ahead with construction.”