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Meetings industry survives Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing


Despite its Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing last week, Detroit is open for business and thriving, according to the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB), which markets the metropolitan Detroit area as a destination for leisure and business travel.

DMCVB assured its clients that their meetings in the city will be seamless.

According to Larry Alexander, president and CEO of DMCVB, the climate to hold meetings in Detroit is better than it has been in decades and rivals most Midwest cities. 

“The private sector has invested in Detroit at unprecedented levels over the past two years, bringing in close to 12,000 new employees and $11 billion in new economic development,” said Alexander. “Officials managing the bankruptcy recognize that visitors and conventions are key to a successful city and will work hand in hand with the private sector to continue the positive momentum in Detroit.”

Adding to an inventory of more than 4,000 luxury hotel rooms in downtown Detroit is a 367-room, eight-suite Crowne Plaza Pontchartrain – Detroit Convention Center Hotel opened.

“Downtown Detroit, where our meetings and tourism assets are centered, is a hub of vibrancy and activity, with first-class facilities and amenities, and plenty of entertainment options for attendees to enjoy,” said Alexander.

Cobo Convention Center is more than halfway through its $279 million renovation. In September, its new 40,000 square-foot ballroom will be unveiled. Cobo is an independent regional entity funded by its revenue and the state of Michigan. It is not an asset of the city of Detroit and is said to be financially stable.

Detroit’s challenges exist in neighborhoods with high poverty and unemployment.

“Bankruptcy is a difficult but clearly an unavoidable step that will pave the way for a viable and sustainable future for Detroit,” said Alexander. “We are fully supportive of this decision if it will solve the city’s financial challenges expeditiously and allow the city to move forward.  Detroit has been enjoying an amazing comeback, and putting our financial house in order is part of that comeback.”  

The restructuring plan is crafted to ensure that services essential to residents, businesses and visitors will continue. The emergency manager for Detroit stated that residents will begin to see improvements in their services, including public lighting, waste management, and police and fire services over the next 30-60 days. Under the restructuring proposal, the city will spend $1.5 billion more over the next 10 years on public safety.

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