By Mary O’KEEFE
The RFPs (Request for Proposal) have been collected for Rockhaven and are now with the City of Glendale; however, on Wednesday the deadline for RFP submittal was pushed again to Aug. 11 at 5 p.m. This gives developers two more weeks to perfect their proposals. The original deadline was June 20; it was extended to July 28.
The City of Glendale purchased the Rockhaven property in 2008 and, at that time, it was hoped it would become the site of a new library; however, due to changes in the economy that did not happen and the city has been looking at other options for the 3.3-acre property.
In a recent Glendale City Council meeting the criteria for development had been expanded to include a variety of designs, including a public park, as part of the proposals.
Community groups, including Friends of Rockhaven, have been watching this process very closely. Their concerns included the overdevelopment of the area, the public being locked out of what they had been told would be a park or museum open to all, and a developer who does not respect nor understand the importance of the history of Rockhaven. The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year.
“It has always been our intention to have Rockhaven designated [as a historic site],” director of the city’s Community Development Dept. Phillip Lanzafame said in an interview with CVW. He explained the developers knew the city’s desire to have a historic designation and felt their vision for the property would be compatible with that designation.
According to Jennifer McLain, principal economic development officer for the City of Glendale in an email response to questions from CVW, when the RFPs have been collected they will then be passed on to a review committee consisting of representatives of the City of Glendale who will review all complete submittals received by the closing date in accordance with the criteria and procedures identified in this RFP.
“It is anticipated that the review committee staff will analyze the submittals and bring forward a recommendation to the city council in approximately 45 to 60 days following the RFP submittal deadline,” she wrote. “The review committee may, at its option, request additional information, clarification of information, or interviews with developers before final selection is determined.”
Based on the evaluation criteria, it is anticipated that the review committee will present recommendations to the city council for review and approval sometime in the fall 2016. The city council may select a developer at the conclusion of the RFP process and enter into an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) should it be decided to pursue a ground lease of the property.
During the ENA period, city staff will negotiate the terms of property disposition agreement with the selected developer. During the ENA period, the developer will also be required to secure entitlements for the development of the site, McLain stated.
A few years ago the city reached out to the community stakeholders as part of the decision-making process on the property but this time those stakeholders and community members will share their opinions with the city council when the proposals are presented at a council meeting.
“The community will have an opportunity to weigh in during the presentation to city council,” McLain said.
When asked what role stakeholders, including local historical societies, will play in the fate of Rockhaven, McLain responded, “That is undecided at this time.”
The city representatives have reached out to those community members like Friends of Rockhaven allowing them to host tours of the historical property and have had an open dialogue with its members.
Ultimately it falls to the Glendale City Council to make the final decision on Rockhaven.