Automotive, City Transformation, Development, Must See, News

You could park the Space Shuttle in the new atrium at Cobo

Glass roof of the Cobo Atrium

With the North American International Auto Show underway it seems only right to highlight some of the dramatic changes at the Cobo Center. One of the big ones is the new atrium.

The price tag? $22.6 million out of the $279 million construction costs. You could easily store that much cash in dollar bills inside the atrium, if you wanted to.

Here are some more statistics for you data and trivia guys out there.

  • Cobo hall atrium inside during the auto showDimensions: 250 feet long, 80 feet tall and 65 feet wide. You could park a Space Shuttle inside if you could get it through the doors. Be careful with the wings.
  • Glass: 19,000 square feet, purchased from Michigan-based Guardian Industries, make up the roof and south face. The glass would cover four NBA basketball courts.
  • Structural steel: 2,600 tons for the overall project. A separate number for the atrium is not available. The structural steel weighs about as much as 520 full-size elephants, or more than 40 Boeing 747-200 aircraft.
  • Flooring: 30,000 square feet of porcelain tile from Italy, when completed. That’s about 62½ yards of a football field from sideline to sideline, and the size of Derek Jeter’s house in Florida.
  • Marble: 315 tons of “Sunset” marble from Portugal cover the columns. The same quarry supplied marble for the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas and the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship. The Queen Mary 2 weighs 76,000 tons.
  • Floor space: 30,000 square feet of contiguous space, 16,000 square feet on the main floor between the columns. The 16,000 square feet is almost the size of the ice surface of an NHL hockey rink.
  • 40 stairs on the cobo center atrium (along with escalator)Capacity: 600 people seated for meals, 1,000 people seated theater-style, and 1,200 people standing. If your dinner guests flew in from Miami, it would take three 747-200 aircraft to get them to Detroit, while the seated crowd would need five planes and the standing-room crowd would need six planes. Of course, if the crowd comes from Southfield, they could just use the Lodge Freeway and not bother flying.
  • Steps in the grand staircase: 40. There are three escalators for people who don’t like steps. Too bad there aren’t 39 Steps.
  • Floors: The atrium is often referred to as being three stories tall. That is true as far as height goes, but technically the atrium has two floors and a mezzanine.

Check it out at the Detroit auto show!

Need an auto show guide? We have you covered.


Cobo atrium entrance under construction, viewed from roadway on riverfront

Outside the new Cobo atrium that is still under construction

Cobo hall atrium inside during the auto show

Cobo atrium interior during the auto show

Cobo atrium interior full of people for Car and Truck of the Year announcement

Cobo atrium interior full of people for Car and Truck of the Year announcement

19,000 square feet of glass for the cobo atrium from Guardian Industries

19,000 square feet, purchased from Michigan-based Guardian Industries, make up the roof and south face

Glass roof of the Cobo Atrium

Glass roof of the Cobo Center atrium

Cobo atrium roof during north american internationalauto show

New Cobo atrium roof with workers on it during auto show

Photo credits: Visit Detroit and the DetroitUnspun team

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