Cobo Center’s 40,000-square-foot ballroom is finally open and what a ballroom it is.
It can seat the entire population of Grosse Pointe Shores for dinner – 2,250 people. It has more theater-style seating at 3,500 than the theater that hosts the Academy Awards. If people are standing the ballroom can fit 4,500, the same number of people who can fit into the Copacabana in New York City.
So just how big is the new ballroom? It’s 264 feet long, 164 feet wide and 40 feet tall, with a total interior volume of 1.9 million cubic feet. If it were water tight, it could hold more than 14 million gallons of water or nearly enough to fill the Shamu Stadium water tank at SeaWorld in San Diego three times. It has 40,000 square feet of floor space, including pre-function areas.
The new ballroom cost $115 million out of the total $279 million Cobo Center renovation construction costs. That $115 million could buy you 9,000 square-foot condo on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (although the condo comes with a doorman).
Here are a few more statistics:
Ceiling: 40-foot height with built-in rigging grid throughout. Each rigging point is capable of holding 1,500 to 2,500 pounds, or one full-sized Polar Bear, if you really needed to suspend a Polar Bear.
Glass: 78,000 square feet of glass make up the “curtain wall” surrounding the ballroom. The 6,500 glass panels were purchased from Michigan-based Guardian Industries.
Flooring: Custom-made, durable Axminster carpeting covers the ballroom interior and prefunction area. Axminster carpet is named after a type of hand-weave that originated in 1755 in the English town of Axminster. The cement floor below the carpeting is built to hold 150 pounds per square foot – 150 percent of the load required in the local building code.
Partition: Two of the world’s largest retractable meeting room walls can divide the main room into two sections that can hold simultaneous events. When in place, each wall measures 164 feet by 48 feet. By comparison, an NBA basketball court is 94 feet by 50 feet. Each retractable wall weighs 158,000 pounds, the same as an unloaded, unfueled B-2 bomber.
Stage lifts: Two, side-by-side, 25-foot by 15-foot “rigid chain lifts” can hold 56,000 pounds each. So each lift conceivably can raise a large fire department pumper truck filled with 3,000 gallons of water, or a fully fueled F/A-18 Hornet jet fighter like those flown by the Blue Angels. The lifts are manufactured by Serapid Worldwide of Sterling Heights, Mich., and installed by KONE Americas.
Structural steel: While a separate number for the ballroom is not available the entire renovation project used 2,600 tons of structural steel, which weighs about as much as 520 full-size elephants, or more than 40 Boeing 747-200 aircraft.
Cobo may just have the belle of the ballrooms.