This article was originally published in the Eagle Tribune,
By Jill Harmacinski
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.
LAWRENCE — A North Andover animal hospital is preparing its long-planned move to its new home on Route 114 in Lawrence to the Route 114 site of the previous Showcase Cinemas.
Bulger Veterinary Hospital will move to its new facility at 141 Winthrop Ave., the former site of Showcase Cinemas. Bulger plans to re-open on June 27, officials announced.
The move comes a year after the Showcase Cinemas building there was razed. A Starbucks with a drive-thru is already open at the location.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to expand our business into the city of Lawrence and become part of the community. The mayor and the city have been so supportive in our efforts and we are thankful for their encouragement,” said Ames Prentiss, CEO of Ethos Veterinary Health a national chain of which Bulger Animal Hospital is part.
“We are proud of our history of high quality veterinary care for pet owners in the Merrimack Valley and are enthusiastic for the future in our new home,” said Prentiss, an Andover native.
The new 17,000-square-foot hospital includes five surgery suites, 20 exam rooms, a new, 64-slice CT scanner, severe waiting rooms, a dedicated waiting room just for felines and a larger emergency facility.
The animal hospital’s services will continue to include primary care, 24/7 emergency and critical care (365 days year), surgery, cardiology, internal medicine, ophthalmology, acupuncture, an exotics team and more, Bulger officials said.
The hospital already has 105 employees and could be hiring as many as 15 more as new services are added, officials said.
“We are excited to offer such a remarkable facility with advanced medical care to the pets we love as our own family members,” said Steve Isherwood, hospital director.
“I’ve been bringing my own pets here with my family since I was a child,” he said.
Once the hospital move is complete, Bulger’s North Andover location at 247 Chickering Road will close.
Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera congratulated Prentiss and his team on the move and thanked them for bringing their business to Lawrence.
The former Showcase Cinema site “sat vacant for far too long,” Rivera said. He credited Prentiss with turning the area into a premier site “that will improve the quality of life for our community for years to come.”
“Large-scale development projects like this are what help our community continue to thrive and I am thrilled to have Bulger Veterinary Hospital, the premier animal hospital of the Merrimack Valley, make Lawrence its home,” Rivera said.
A ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 25.
Showcase Cinemas closed the last of its theaters on Route 114 in 2016. Prentiss bought the property about a year or so later.
Prentiss said previously he’d been searching for years for a new location for the growing practice.