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Chemical Bank Wins Naming Rights To Detroit's Cobo Center

Chemical Bank Wins Naming Rights To Detroit's Cobo Center

Chemical Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: CHFC), the parent of Chemical Bank, has won the naming rights for Detroit’s Cobo Convention Center for the next two decades.

What Happened

The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority said in its announcement that Chemical, Michigan’s largest bank, will pay $1.5 million a year for the life of the 22-year deal, giving it exclusive naming rights. The bank said it won't announce the convention and expo site's new name until the end of this year.

Cobo, opened in 1960, is Detroit’s primary remaining convention hall and home to the annual North American International Auto Show. It hosts about 1.5 million visitors a year.

Chemical Bank is in the middle of a merger with TCF Financial Corporation (NYSE: TCF) and the new bank's name will adorn the center if the merger is approved, which is why a final name won’t be announced until later. Chemical was one of three organizations seeking the naming rights.

“Today’s announcement continues to build on our bank’s investment in the city, its neighborhoods, the region and our state,” Chemical Financial Chairman Gary Torgow said in a statement. “We look forward to contributing to make this Center a vibrant destination for our city and our region for many years to come.”

Tarnished Legacy

The change will also remove the name of former Detroit mayor Albert Cobo, a segregationist who campaigned in the 1950s against a “Negro invasion” of Detroit’s white neighborhoods and promised to uphold racial restrictions on housing. Cobo, who died in 1957, denied federal funding for public housing projects for black residents and disbanded the city’s Civil Rights Commission when it criticized his policies.

"The tensions from that era still reverberate in the city of Detroit today," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said on Twitter. "I didn't believe that our civic center - in its name - should celebrate that era. We should be celebrating the future."

Related Links:

Chemical, TCF Banks To Merge, Creating 'Largest Midcap Bank In The Midwest' With Detroit HQ

Chemical Bank Relocates HQ To Detroit


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