General Motors is looking at Yuma as the possible new location for its new hot-weather proving ground, according to published reports.
The auto giant sees the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground as a possible replacement location for its Desert Proving Ground in Mesa, the Yuma Daily Sun reported.
The Detroit-based auto producer has sold its Mesa property at 13303 S. Ellsworth Road to private developers and is continuing to conduct testing operations on the north section of the property while it searches for a new location.
A proposal to build a new hot-weather track at the military proving ground will be presented to the Yuma County Board of Supervisors on May 7, said Chris Camacho, head of the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp.
The track would benefit the Army proving ground because the military could also use it for testing military vehicles and would receive revenue from leasing the ground.
Camacho said it’s not a done deal yet, and other sites are still being considered. GM spokeswoman Janine Fruehan also said the company has not reached a decision on where to relocate the hot-weather track.
GM announced its intention to close the Mesa proving ground in 2000 and planned to move its hot-weather vehicle testing to Mexico. However, the company was not able to acquire the property it wanted in Mexico and decided to keep the Mesa site open but with a reduced staff. Some testing was moved to Mexico and some was moved to labs.
In 2004, the company sold the southern 1,700 acres of the Mesa proving ground to Desert Proving LLC, a group headed by community developer William S. Levine. The group has received approval from Mesa for a plan to develop the land.
In December, GM sold the remaining 3,200 acres on the north side to DMB, a Scottsdale-based real estate and development firm, for $265 million. DMB agreed to lease the property back to GM for three years while the company looks for a new location.
The proving ground property is viewed as one of the most desirable development sites in the East Valley, being located near Williams Gateway Airport and the Arizona State University Polytechnic campus.
- The Yuma Daily Sun contributed to this report.