by Michael J. Shapiro | August 29, 2019
Cobo Center, the downtown Detroit convention center that opened for business in 1960, has a new name. As of Tuesday, the facility is now known as TCF Center, thanks to a 22-year naming-rights deal with TCF Bank. The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority actually awarded naming rights earlier this year to Chemical Bank, which has since merged with Detroit-based TCF, creating a large regional financial company with its headquarters and roots in Michigan.
The deal was a longtime goal of the DRCFA, in part to keep the facility's operation financially viable. TCF's investment will make the center self-sustaining by 2024, which will save state taxpayers millions.

"This naming-rights agreement has been a goal of the DRCFA since it was formed in 2009, and TCF Bank is the perfect partner," said Larry Alexander, chairman of the DRCFA and president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Our partnership with TCF Bank will help to cement the convention center's strong financial future."

Changing the venue's name also was a priority on account of the former mayor Albert Cobo's legacy. While Cobo worked to develop the convention center in the late '50s, he likewise espoused racially motivated housing policies that destroyed African-American neighborhoods to make way for new developments. Such policies laid the groundwork for the racial tensions that continued to escalate in the city through the following decade.

"We couldn't be prouder or more honored to partner with the authority on this unique opportunity to support our hometown and state," said TCF executive chairman Gary Torgow. "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."

The new name represents the icing on the cake for the facility, following a recent $279 million renovation that has helped contribute to downtown Detroit's resurgence. In 2018, the convention center hosted 244 events and posted a revenue increase of 564 percent since 2009.

The naming deal is part of TCF Bank's broader efforts to invest in the city. Plans include a new headquarters tower to be built in downtown Detroit, as well as the contribution of $35 million to the Strategic Neighborhood Fund to help it invest in and bolster Detroit neighborhoods.