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Veterinary Specialty Hospital’s new home opens this fall

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When the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego was started by Dr. Keith Richter, DVM, in 1990, it was one of the few specialty hospitals in Southern California.

At that time, private specialty and referral hospitals for companion animals were uncommon in the United States. Today veterinary medicine is now virtually on par with that of human medicine in large specialty centers.

With increased technology and expertise in the field, the Veterinary Specialty Hospital has grown immensely and revenue has increased in the last six years by 20 percent.

During this period of rapid expansion, the current facility at the Helen Woodward Center in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., has become inadequate to support the current volume. In 2002, 1.9 acres was purchased on Sorrento Valley Road and plans were developed for a 26,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, with an expected completion date of Sept. 5, 2005.

One of the largest challenges facing the group of doctors was financing this project, which was expected to be more than $9 million. Several of the doctors formed a limited liability company and were able to obtain financing from Banco Popular, primarily through the efforts of Liz Schaper, vice president, business development officer of the SBA Division. She was able to analyze the project and determine that the cash flow projections were adequate to support the debt load.

Working with the SBA, the doctors were able to secure financing with only 20 percent equity into the project. The bank was also extremely helpful when construction costs exceeded the original bid, primarily due to the rapidly rising cost of steel and concrete. The bank approved additional financing, allowing the project to continue with minimal change in scope.

Currently, the building is less than four months from completion, and a long journey for these seen doctors is becoming a reality. The Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego already enjoys the reputation as the premier referral center in Southern California. With the completion of the new facility, the hospital will become a showcase of state-of-the-art medical care for dogs and cats, allowing the regional pet-owning public to have access to unparalleled health care for their four-legged family members.

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