Nine years after fire, Little Neck building restored

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The empty shell of a commercial building on Northern Boulevard in Little Neck, ravaged by fire about nine years ago and virtually abandoned since, is being renovated as the owners seek new tenants.

The large one-story building is adjacent to the Scobee Diner and North Shore Hardware and sits on Northern Boulevard between Marathon Parkway and Little Neck Parkway.

Neighboring business owners said it has been empty for about nine years since a fire in a restaurant gutted the building. Business owners and residents have since voiced their concerns about why the building had been left untouched and unrepaired for so long.

The building is owned by the Little Neck law firm of Greenberg and Hofstein. Risa Chain, a partner in the firm, told the Times/Ledger in December the firm was renovating the site and looking for retail tenants. She refused further comment, and no one could be reached at Greenberg and Hofstein as of press time this week.

The burned-out building used to house the restaurant Catherine's of Great Neck as well as law offices and a chiropractor's office, neighboring business owners said.

Between 1997 and 1998, Community Board 11 received several complaints about the abandoned condition of the building and at one point a task force was created to investigate the matter.

District Manager Anne Marie Boranian said she had a few complaints on file about the filthiness of the property, which included excessive pigeon droppings, debris, and vermin.

Boranian said as far as she knew, the owners were renovating the property and looking for retail tenants.

Workers continued to renovate the building this week with new plate glass windows, a repainted store front and a repaired roof. CB 11 files said the fire that gutted the building left only a portion of the roof intact.

Harry Pallas, co-owner of the adjacent Scobee Diner, on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Little Neck Parkway, said it was good the owners were finally seeking tenants.

"It's been nine years since the fire," Pallas said. "It's about time that they rebuilt it. It's good for the community."

Max Sibirtzeff, a real estate agent for Anderson Property Real Estate, has worked across the street from the building for about 10 years.

Sibirtzeff, who was in the process of relocating Tuesday, said: "I don't know what it's going to be," he said. "I'm grateful they're doing this because for a long period of time it was like looking at a bomb shelter."

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