(Virginia Beach, Va., April 10, 2023) – Pembroke Manor’s new owner is ready for company. The walls of the historic home have a fresh coat of paint, the heart pine floors are clean and the lawn is lush and green. Beginning April 12, Heather Brookshire, DVM, will open the doors to greet guests of a most amiable kind—pets in need of ocular care at Animal Vision Center of Virginia’s new location.
“We can’t wait to welcome pet patients and their owners to our new practice home,” said Brookshire, who purchased the property in September 2022. “The look and feel of Pembroke Manor make it an ideal location as a healing practice for ophthalmic animal care, and we look forward to being conscientious new stewards of this beautiful property.”
Located on approximately one acre in Virginia Beach’s Pembroke neighborhood, the brick Georgian-style home sits on property given by the King of England in 1635 to Adam Thoroughgood, a community leader in the Virginia Colony. Over the years, the land was divided among the family’s heirs, including Capt. Jonathan Saunders who built Pembroke Manor in 1764. Other family members occupied the home over time, until the Kellam family bought the manor house and grounds in 1781.
More recently, the property has housed a private school and a technology company. It is listed on the Virginia Beach Historic Register, the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
A New Vision for a Historic Home
Last year, when Brookshire discovered Pembroke Manor House was on the market, the wheels started turning. She had been searching for an existing building to relocate and expand her practice in Great Neck. After touring a lot of properties, she knew this was the one.
“I could easily imagine operating the practice in this space,” Brookshire said. “The manor home had all the features I was looking for, but with more character. And I loved the massive old trees and shady grounds that made the property so unique.”
Brookshire hired a structural engineer, who found the stability and strength of the Colonial-era home to be sound. The home’s previous owners had rewired the building, so the electrical system had been brought to modern times. And the layout was conducive for reception, exam and surgery areas. Brookshire even brought her dogs over to make sure they were comfortable on the site.
Design Team Specializing in Preservation and Adaptive Use
To reimagine the home’s interior as a veterinary clinic, without taking away from the historic nature of the home, Brookshire worked with several firms specializing in preservation and adaptive use. These included: Dills Architects and Ringenberg Construction in Virginia Beach; Merryn Williams Designs in Lexington, Virginia; and Commonwealth Preservation Group, a Norfolk firm specializing in design solutions that are sensitive to the historic character of significant buildings and meeting the needs of modern occupants.
Last fall, the Department of Historic Resources in Richmond gave conceptual approval of the design team’s renovation and rehabilitation plans. As a final project, the landscape architect team at WPL in Virginia Beach will revitalize the grounds and improve the use for dogs. Among the site plans is a low-vision park for dogs with sight impairments—a longed-for project that Brookshire is excited to bring to fruition.
“We will have space for this special park and space for our clients to enjoy when bringing their pets to the clinic,” Brookshire said.
Animal Vision Center of Virginia at Pembroke Manor will be open for appointments beginning April 12, 2023, and the center operates a second practice in Chesapeake on Mt. Pleasant Road. The clinics offer a full array of animal eye care services including exams and diagnosis, medical therapies, genetic testing for ocular conditions, and surgery. Learn more about their offerings at www.animalvisioncenterva.com.
Providing quality ophthalmic care for animals of all shapes and sizes, Animal Vision Center of Virginia has practices in Chesapeake at 228 Mt. Pleasant Road and in Virginia Beach at 520 Constitution Drive. Their care team is dedicated to providing the highest level of technology, education, skill and compassion, from consultation to complete ophthalmic services.
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