New Plans Underway For Old General Motors Testing Lab In Phoenix

Published: Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 5:05am
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(Photo by Christina Estes -KJZZ)
This building at 20th and Roosevelt Streets in Phoenix once served as General Motors Testing Laboratory.
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
The site of the former General Motors Testing Laboratory that opened in Phoenix in 1937.

After years of sitting vacant, new plans are underway for an old General Motors Testing Lab in Phoenix. A developer plans to rehabilitate the historic building.

At first glance, it’s easy to miss the significance of the big, boxy building on the corner of 20th and Roosevelt streets.

“Because it’s boarded up and you can’t see there’s these fabulous glass blocks that are around most of the building,” said Michelle Dodds, historic preservation officer for the city of Phoenix. "It's a fabulous building."

She recently toured the 80-year old structure now being eyed by a developer. 

“He’s hoping to do like a culinary school featuring various cultures and have it be sort of an incubator space, so it’s going from being like a test lab for General Motors to kind of like a test kitchen,” she explained.

The private property sale has not been finalized.

According to an Arizona Republic article dated Aug. 6, 1937, Phoenix was “selected from all other cities in the nation for the $100,000 modern test laboratory.”

General Motors Testing Laboratory

  • Southeastern corner of 20th and Roosevelt streets
  • Opened in February 1937
  • Streamline Moderne style building