Detroit's Cobo Center has a new name

DETROIT – The new name for Detroit's Cobo Center was unveiled on Tuesday.

Leaders from TCF Bank, along with local officials, held a news conference Tuesday morning to officially unveil the new name for Cobo Center.

The new name of Cobo Center is: TCF Center.

Detroit’s Cobo Center, which hosts the auto show and other major events, changed its name to remove the surname of a former mayor known for his racist policies, officials announced earlier this year.

The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority announced in February that it sold Cobo Center’s naming rights to Detroit-based Chemical Bank in a 22-year deal that will generate $1.5 million annually. 

Chemical Bank and TCF announced a merger earlier this year, with the combined holding company and bank now operating under the TCF name and brand.

“We couldn’t be prouder or more honored to partner with the authority on this unique opportunity to support our hometown and state. It helps ensure a continued strong, vibrant future for the world-class Detroit convention center that connects our city to the world,” TCF Executive Chairman Gary Torgow said. “It’s an important part of our larger, intentional effort to marry inclusion with investment across the city and its neighborhoods, region and state. We look forward to reaching new heights.”

Albert Cobo, who served as mayor from 1950 to 1957, sought to keep blacks out of predominantly white neighborhoods. The convention center opened on the Detroit River waterfront in 1960, three years after Cobo died.

“This is exciting news for the city of Detroit and the whole state of Michigan,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “The new name demonstrates TCF’s strong commitment to the future of our state, and their investment sends a powerful message to the whole country that Michigan is the home for opportunity.” 

“I can’t think of better partners than Gary Torgow and the team at TCF Bank to help secure the future of our region’s convention center,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Today’s announcement, combined with TCF’s commitment to build its new headquarters in downtown Detroit and Gary’s leadership building our Strategic Neighborhood Fund, shows TCF Bank is truly invested in our city and its people.”

In addition to the North American International Auto Show, Cobo Center hosted the annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, the largest fundraiser by the Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The organization says it draws 10,000 people each year.

The center was owned and operated by the city until 2009, when the regional authority was created. Officials said in a release that the money made from the deal with Chemical Bank will save state taxpayers millions of dollars and help the center “move toward becoming a self-sustaining facility” within about five years.

About the Authors:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.