Many early technological inventions were developed here including the first experimental talking movies (1923), black and white and color TV, radar, the vacuum tube, the transistor, medical equipment, the development of the phonograph record, and the first commercial broadcasts including the first broadcast of a baseball game and the New York Philharmonic with Toscanini conducting. It also served as the headquarters for the company and was also home for part of the Manhattan Project (for the development of the first atomic bomb) during World War II.
After two years of renovations by Richard Meier, the building was reopened in 1970 as Westbeth Artists Community, a haven for low to middle income artists. In addition to affordable artist housing, the complex contains a theater, an art gallery, and a synagogue. There are 383, residential units as well as commercial spaces, and rehearsal and artist' studios in the thirteen inter-connected buildings.
It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975.