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New landlord for Lauren

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On February 13, businessman Sharone Hodara bought a trio of E. Tremont Avenue office buildings for $3 million. Hodara plans to give the buildings – in the heart of Throggs Neck – a major facelift.

Physicians and accountants currently occupy 3626-3628, 3618-3620 and 3612-3614 E. Tremont. Built in the mid-1980s by Louis DeBellis, an eye doctor from Throggs Neck, they total 16,000-square feet. DeBellis was shot to death by area businessman Ken Maula, a typesetter, after the two argued about one of the properties. The shooting occurred behind 3626-3628.

Dr. Alan Kaufman, an allergist and immunologist, has made 3626-3628 – also known as the Lauren Building – his base of operations for 20 years.

“This is the best location in Throggs Neck,” Kaufman said. “Right in the middle of everything.”

But a number of offices sit vacant. The buildings need a new heating and air conditioning system, and a paint job. More than once, Kaufman considered leaving.

“Under the old management company, the building fell into disrepair,” he said.

Tommy Melendez, owner of the Copy That print shop, was a Lauren Building tenant for years. He moved out of frustration.

“The heat and air conditioning never seemed to work,” Melendez said. “The old management company didn’t care.”

Denise Szola is the office manager for Dr. Bansal Rajiv, a gastroenterologist in 3618-3620, a flat-fronted brick building. Szola is thrilled about the change in ownership.

“I think the sale was a good move,” she said.

Hodara wants to erect a glass-accented atrium between 3618-3620 and 3626-3628, designed to serve both two-story buildings. He also wants to install an elevator and a marble floor.

Hodara hopes to redo 3612-3614’s façade to match 3618-3620 and 3626-3628. Currently, the one-story building sticks out like a sore thumb. All told, Hodara plans to spend half a million dollars on the Lauren trio.

Kaufman is optimistic. Hodara could renovate the allergist’s claustrophobic office and awkward storage area. Szola is similarly excited.

“He’s going to build a beautiful vestibule,” she said. “The office directory we have now is basically unreadable.”

Hodara, a partner in the Spine and Joint Center at 2943 Bruckner Boulevard, is working to re-tenant the Lauren trio. A physical therapist has expressed interest.

“I’m going to keep the buildings medical,” Hodara said.

Melendez, secretary of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, applauded Hodara’s plans.

“I think it’s going to be great for the neighborho­od,” he said. “He’ll have no problem filling that place back up.”

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group