The future of Rockhaven Sanitarium, formerly a pioneering clinic for women suffering from mental illness where Marilyn’s mother Gladys lived for 14 years, is once again in jeopardy, as Lila Seidman reports for the Los Angeles Times. (You can read my review of Elisa Jordan’s book about Rockhaven here.)
“Plans to turn the former Rockhaven Sanitarium in north Glendale into a park and boutique-commercial center have been scrapped, with city officials recently severing ties with the local developer heading up the project.
Following closed-session deliberations on Feb. 5, City Council members decided not to extend a contract with Gangi Development that was first initiated at the end of January 2017, city spokesman Dan Bell confirmed on Tuesday.
The council’s decision disheartened Matthew Gangi, the project’s principal lead, who said he still hasn’t given up on the vision the council approved in November 2016.
According to Matthew Gangi, the city had asked him and his family associates to personally guarantee yet-unspecified improvement requests to the site, which some family members would not do because they felt they were already offering substantial money and effort to improve the city-owned property, Gangi said.
Under the original proposal, businesses and nonprofits would have moved into the former sanitarium’s 14 buildings that Gangi Development had planned to rehabilitate.
Prospective tenants included a farm-to-table restaurant, a sustainable winery, a hatha yoga studio, creative lounge and native-plant-seed shop, Matthew Gangi said.
Remaining space on the property that’s been designated a historic district would have become a park, with a planned performance stage and several demonstration gardens, he added.
The roster of businesses was selected, in part, as an homage to the property’s original incarnation when it opened in 1923 as a progressive women’s mental-health facility, according to Matthew Gangi.
The Gangi project was supported by Friends of Rockhaven, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the property.
‘Naturally, we’re devastated,’ said Joanna Linkchorst, president of Friends of Rockhaven. ‘We’d hoped we had found the solution. We thought that finding someone who would [handle the project] privately, that the city would be willing to have a park there — a remarkable park.’
Speaking for the nonprofit, Linkchorst said the organization is convinced the city will now attempt to sell off the 3.5-acre property it purchased for $8.25 million in 2008.”