Block party to celebrate new name for Cobo

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Detroit — A party open to all will kick off a new era for Detroit's convention center as it changes its name.

In a $33 million, 22-year deal, Chemical Bank in February acquired the naming rights to Cobo Center. Now that Chemical has completed its merger with TCF Bank, the combined TCF, which is based in Detroit, will celebrate the renaming of the center Tuesday with a block party.

The name will be revealed with new signage on the building during a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday. In February, bank leaders said if the merger closed, it would be called the TCF Center.

A party on Tuesday will mark a new era for Cobo Center as its name is changed. Chemical Bank in February acquired the naming rights to the convention center. Bank leaders said then if a merger between Chemical and TCF Bank closed, that Cobo would be renamed the TCF Center.

The block party will begin at 11:30 a.m. outside the convention center and will run until 6 p.m. The free family-friendly event will include face painting, a photo booth and Pac-Man played on an 8-foot screen. Pizza, ice cream and Slows Bar BQ also will be available.

Local musical acts will provide live music. Young Generation takes the stage at noon, the Selected of God Choir at 4:15 p.m. and The Temptations at 5 p.m.

All downtown Detroit Department of Transportation bus routes that day are free.

The convention center's name has come under fire for policies its namesake Albert E. Cobo enacted as mayor of Detroit in the 1950s that some have called racist. Current Mayor Mike Duggan and others have criticized Cobo for spearheading urban renewal projects that razed black neighborhoods. He was challenged throughout his career by civil rights groups that accused him of moving too slowly in response to harassment and police brutality against the city’s black residents and for continuing the city’s longstanding housing segregation policy.

"We see the convention center as being central to Detroit's image," said Amie Hoffner, TCF's vice president of corporate communications. "Renaming it is an important step to the city's continued comeback. We're choosing to focus on the future of the convention center as a world-class event space."