By Mary Klida
Karen Totaro, CVE, general manager for ASM Global, announced Huntington Place as the new name for Detroit’s world-class convention center. The new name signifies an important moment in the transformation of Detroit’s gathering place for conventions, meetings and special events, and is the 16th largest convention center in the country.
ASM Global has been managing the day-to-day operations for Detroit’s convention center since 2010, establishing the venue as a top convention center both nationally and internationally. The ASM team rebuilt the business model, resulting in a $20 million reduction of operating deficit, and quadrupled the number of major events held annually in the center from 2010 to 2019. The ASM team completed a transformation of the customer experience to one that is focused on creating lasting memories for every visitor to Detroit.
“Our partnership with Huntington Bank brings a wealth of opportunities to our community and visitors,” Totaro said. “As we continue to elevate this Detroit convention center as an industry gold standard, the creative, hardworking team at Huntington Place continues to make diversity a strength as it focuses entirely on the success of every event.”
Huntington merged with TCF Financial Corp. in June of 2021, creating a top 10 regional bank. This strengthens Huntington Place’s position in offering customers access to thought leaders in Fortune 100 companies, representative of major corporations and leaders in their industries for keynotes and education segments. The center also offers access to Michigan nonprofits to bring CSR initiatives to life during events, and community service resources such as fitness mini-events and job fairs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the convention center now known as Huntington Place became a civic center for the Detroit region, serving as a field hospital, a day center for homeless services, a food distribution center for Food Rescue US, and the city’s largest vaccination site with a drive through facility in the Atwater Garage. The venue reopened with a strong event schedule, discovering that show managers want to partner with an organization that values the community they serve.
“We are proud that following the TCF-Huntington merger, the name of our new combined bank now graces the walls of this civic center that means so much to the people of Detroit and all of southeast Michigan. From high school graduations to the North American International Auto Show, from speeches by sitting presidents to the annual NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, this venerable facility is part of the fabric of our community and Huntington is fortunate to now be a part of it,” said Gary Torgow, chairman, Huntington Bank.
Detroit’s Huntington Place completed its $279 million transformation in 2015, enhancing its view of one of the world’s busiest waterways, the Detroit River, with a view of an international destination on the other side of its banks – Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
The venue has hosted some of the most important meetings and conventions in the country, ranking it among the top 20 in the nation. In 2022 the venue looks forward to hosting several big trade shows such as Connect Marketplace and the Silicone Expo, the world’s first free-to-attend commercial trade show and conference for the silicone industry.
“Our naming rights agreement, which was a priority for the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, began with TCF Bank and continues with Huntington Bank in strengthening the Center’s financial future. We are dedicated not only to being a contributor to our region’s economic vitality, but also to creating jobs and enhancing the attraction of our destination to visitors,” said Lisa Canada, chair of the DRCFA. “Both of our organizations have a deep commitment to the communities we serve.”
Against the backdrop of an international riverfront, Huntington Place projects continued future growth for world-class meetings, conventions and event business in 2022. Prior to 2020, Huntington Place attracted nearly 1.5 million visitors annually.
Just one week after the merger, Huntington unveiled a $40 billion Strategic Community Plan to improve financial opportunities for the customers, businesses, and communities it serves, with a focus on affordable housing, small business and increased capital to historically disadvantaged and low-to-moderate income communities.
Mary Klida is Senior Marketing & Communications Manager.