By Jason KUROSU
The Glendale City Council held closed session talks Tuesday regarding the property at 2713 Honolulu Ave. in La Crescenta/Montrose, known as the former Rockhaven Sanitarium, as well as the Mountain Oaks area on New York Avenue.
In its Oct. 6 agenda, the city council listed conferences to be held with real estate development firm Brooks Street and Orange County developer Lab Holdings, LLC, as well as a collection of medical professionals based in San Marino and Venice. Among Brooks Street’s projects are residential properties throughout California and proposed commercial properties such as the 400-acre Newport Banning Ranch in Newport Beach. Lab Holdings, LLC’s projects include arts-oriented commercial properties such as the Lab Anti-mall in Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa’s SoBeCa Arts District and the Anaheim Packing District.
The closed door conference regarding Rockhaven concerned the “price and sale for the acquisition of property,” according to the city council’s agenda.
However, City Manager Scott Ochoa said that any action regarding the site would have to be taken during an open, public council session. Ochoa would not comment on what occurred during the meetings, but said that only the city council and city staff attended the sessions.
Mayor Ara Najarian also declined to comment on the content of those meetings.
The City of Glendale has owned the Rockhaven property since 2008, the ultimate use of which has been a subject of debate since the city’s acquisition. Local groups such as the Friends of Rockhaven have pushed for historical preservation of the former women’s facility’s buildings.
Friends of Rockhaven President Joanna Linkchorst said Glendale purchased the property “to make it into a park and community center,” a vision the group feels has all but vanished in favor of private development.
“When the Friends of Rockhaven formed, people asked, ‘What’s happening with that? It’s a done deal, right?’ We are still working to make that vision happen even though a few people working for the city don’t believe in that vision any longer,” Linkchorst said.
“Rockhaven is a publicly owned historic property (though not yet on any historic registry in spite of the City’s assessment showing it is fully qualified). Even with the best developer’s plans the property and buildings are leased or sold to a private group. Right now it is in the condition it was in when operating as a sanitarium. Any changes made take away from that,” said Linkchorst. “We have a chance to save and display to the public a place of significance. We as a community can make something great. I hope we don’t lose that opportunity.”