DETROIT – They’re burning the midnight oil at Cobo Hall in Detroit, setting up for press preview week for the North American International Auto Show.
For years, there has been griping about hosting the show in Detroit in January and not just because of the weather. There have been complaints about lack of hotels, restaurants, activities outside of the show and anywhere to shop.
While there has been steady progress over the last five years, the last year has been an explosion of new everything -- a new boutique hotel with another on the way, new retail popping up everywhere and surprises, such as Capital Park.
“When I arrived here in 2011, there was a whole different experience,” Cobo general manager Claude Molinari said. “There was not the kind of restaurants, hotels, the kind of atmosphere. This city has gone through such a rebirth. I’m so optimistic. I’m so thrilled with what’s going on.”
Cobo, already done with a major renovation, has added an additional $2 million in upgrades.
Whether it’s the igloo forest set up along Jefferson Avenue, the bright lights illuminating the way to Campus Martius Park or the new stores sprouting up everywhere, there's something to do all over the city.
Not even a local can keep up with the influx of restaurants in the past year. At the much buzzed about Prime+Proper, no tables were available.
“What is dining in Detroit all about? I think it’s adventure,” restaurateur Jeremy Sasson said.
The reservation book at Prime+Proper is crammed next week and Sasson has already heard all the comparisons.
“'This reminds me of New York City, this reminds me of LA,' or wherever, which makes me feel good because I don’t think they realize it yet that they’re describing Detroit," he said.