Detroit's Cobo Center, named after a segregationist mayor, will finally, officially be renamed next week


  • alisafarov /

Detroit's Cobo Center will be no more — in name, anyway.

TCF Bank, which bought the naming rights for the convention center back in February, will reportedly make it official official with a news conference and community block party on Tuesday, Aug. 27, according to Crain's Detroit Business.

The name change comes at a time when racist monuments across the country are being reconsidered, especially following the "Unite the Right" white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., which coalesced around the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

Of course, we don't have monuments to the Confederacy here in the north. (Except for certain Confederate flag-waving idiots, that is.) But we do have Cobo Center.

One of the nation's first large convention centers, the center formerly known as Cobo Hall was completed in 1960. It was named after former Mayor Albert Cobo, Detroit's mayor from 1950 to 1957, who ran on a segregationist platform and destroyed African-American neighborhoods. Good riddance to those four red letters.

It's kind of a shame TCF Bank couldn't get their shit together faster, though. Since the name change was announced, but before the name change became official, Cobo Center hosted a number of events that, well, it would have been better if they weren't held in a venue named after a segregationist — including a pro-Trump "Build the Wall" rally in March and the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People’s 110th National Convention in July.

In TCF Banks's defense, they were in the middle of a $3.6 billion merger with Chemical Financial Corp. We've never merged two multibillion-dollar companies before, but we're sure it's a lot more complicated than it looks.

Of course, the rename is not just about being politically correct. TCF bought the 22-year naming rights from the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority for $33 million, or $1.5 million annually. The convention center will likely be called TCF Center.

The news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday in front of the convention center, followed by a community block party from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will reportedly be free food, face-painting, games, and live musical performances by the Temptations, Your Generation, and the Selected of God Choir.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.