What does the future hold for Rockhaven? Glendale city officials reveal possibilities for former sanitarium site


Several months after soliciting project proposals for renovating the former Rockhaven Sanitarium, the city released this week several submitted designs for review online, and the City Council will hear summaries of them during a public meeting on Tuesday.

Built in 1923, Rockhaven, located in Montrose, closed more than a decade ago. The city purchased the landmark site in 2008 for $8.25 million to prevent it from being razed to make way for a senior-living project.

There are seven proposals from different development firms. Each offers a comprehensive rehabilitation of the Rockhaven site that falls under three city-designated categories: medical or mental-health-related facility, a boutique-lifestyle commercial center or any other reuse of the property that includes a public park.

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Avalon Investment Co. and Creative Space are proposing a boutique hotel and community garden to be called “The Retreat at Rockhaven.” The two companies plan to build a hub for art, history and well-being. A spa, restaurant and lounge, as well an indoor-outdoor community events center, are among other public amenities included in the plan.

A joint submission by firms Brooks Street and the LAB proposes a mixed-use retail location with open spaces and a building for community groups. The design includes bungalow-type housing for the employees of the various shops and eateries in the character of Rockhaven as it was in the 1920s. The proposal also incorporates creative spaces, health and wellness areas and outdoor food markets.

If firm Cliffside Malibu is selected, Rockhaven would reopen as a behavioral-health facility, restoring the property close to its originally intended use. The facility would focus on delivering substance-abuse treatment, along with free public meeting facilities and support groups.

In a similar vein, Houk Development Co plans to open a residential-treatment facility for those in need of psychiatric care for mental-health disorders, anxiety, personality disorders and other mental issues. Patients could attend vocational training, behavior intervention and peer-counseling on the new grounds.

“Rockhaven Historic Park,” as proposed by Gangi Design LED Build, would give the community a traditional park that would include a “farm-to-table” garden on the property. Food-cart vendors and retail shops would fill the rest of the space, along with art galleries and studios. The Friends of Rockhaven Museum would be housed in one building, and the headquarters of both the Crescenta Valley and Glendale historical societies would be located on separate sites.

Rockhaven would be transformed into “a boutique retail village” should the city opt for the design by Metro Investments. A public park would be located on the southwest corner of the site, and two adjacent buildings would be used as a community room and clubhouse for the Friends of Rockhaven.

Summer Senior Life is offering to develop the Agnes Richards Memorial Park in honor of the psychiatric nurse who founded Rockhaven. The company would transfer the park to the city with the possibility of transforming a nearby building into a Rockhaven museum. It would also create a senior living community for assisted and independent living, as well as memory care.


Jeff Landa,

Twitter: @JeffLanda