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Vet Business Continues Despite Building ‘In Limbo’

027A buyer for the buildings that house the Seven Corners Animal Hospital may not yet be found, but meanwhile Dr. Schuyler Malachi is still seeing her pet patients, hoping to stay in her Falls Church location.

027A buyer for the buildings that house the Seven Corners Animal Hospital may not yet be found, but meanwhile Dr. Schuyler Malachi is still seeing her pet patients, hoping to stay in her Falls Church location.

After the buildings’ owner, T Tran Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, the two buildings that make up Seven Corners Animal Hospital – a small stone building with offices and operating rooms and a larger brick building with a 250-pet kennel – were to be sold in a Dec. 14 auction. According to Tranzon Fox, the real estate auction company managing the sale, the courts overseeing the sale of the property rejected the winning bidder’s offer. The company is still seeking a buyer for the buildings and the about 23,000 square feet of land they sit on.

The buyer of the properties could choose to take on Seven Corners Animal Hospital as its tenant, but because the properties sit on adjacent lots, the sale could mean redevelopment.

“We’re kind of in limbo,” said Malachi, who has owned the business since January 2007, after purchasing it from its longtime owner, veterinarian Richard Walsh.

Malachi says that the building’s bankruptcy sale is no reflection of the fiscal condition of her business, as the business only rents its space from T Tran Inc.

Customers have expressed concern, however, about the future of the business after hearing about the bankruptcy auction, worries that Malachi is quick to allay.020

“We are here, and we want to be here,” Malachi said. “We understand the insecurity, but as far as I know, we won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.”

Malachi has been considering, although reluctantly, different locations to buy or rent that would allow her to continue to practice locally, but has run into the challenge of finding a property that would give her the space and facilities that her current location provides.

And while buying the property herself would allow her to continue her veterinary practice in the location, which she considers an ideal situation, she has as of yet been unable to come to a purchasing agreement.

“It’s just that the terms were wrong,” Malachi said, “and I don’t want to feel backed into a corner.”

For the past four years, Malachi and her team of 12 employees have been serving a clientele of about 15,000 animals – a large number due in no small part to the number of constantly relocating State Department pets the hospital sees. They give basic pet care, such as regular check-ups, vaccinations and flea and tick care, offering referrals for more uncommon, specialized procedures. They also board pets in their day care, certify health certificate for international travelers, and provide in-home euthanasia for ailing pets.

For now, the Takoma Park, Maryland native enjoys continuing her 15-year career as a veterinarian near her hometown – fulfilling her lifelong dream by meeting and treating the many pets that stop by her office – but waits in concern and confusion for the matter of her building’s ownership to be resolved.

“We want to focus on doing what we love instead of fighting to do what we love,” Malachi said. “I really do just want to be able to get this stuff that has little to do with my business out of my hair.”

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