With a glass-walled, angular section stretching upward and out toward West Broad Street, the Virginia Eye Institute's new Short Pump office commands attention. Inside the airy sitting area and optical shop, racks of eyeglasses reflect the afternoon light, giving the space the feel of a high-end boutique.
Having set its sights on the Far West End for about a decade, VEI opened its location there on Feb. 20, after 10 months of construction. Given the area's rapid growth, "It represents our continued effort to be accessible," says Chris Carney, the institute's CEO.
The 17,000-square-foot building also houses a primary-care office for the HCA Virginia Health System. "We have seen patients back and forth," says Dr. Amanda G. Kelley, the office's primary optometrist. "It's been a good relationship already." Besides the usual eye-care services at VEI locations, the new branch performs removal of eyelid styes and offers cosmetic procedures such as Botox and Juvéderm. The optical shop is also a test site for fashion-forward eyeglass frames, says Jane I. Broadbent, VEI's marketing and communications director.
In addition to the Short Pump office, VEI is opening a branch in May at the Bon Secours St. Francis Watkins Centre; that one will represent a consolidation of offices at St. Francis Medical Center and Johnston-Willis Hospital. With the additions, VEI will have 10 offices, and by the time hiring for the new places is completed, Carney says, the 36-year-old institute will employ 30 ophthalmologists and 10 optometrists.