Oceanside’s newest residential development — a $5 million, 23-unit private apartment complex at 418 Atlantic Ave. known as the Inlet — is nearing completion.
Ubaid Bandukra, 34, and his father, Usman, 77, who has lived and invested in Oceanside for 40 years, are financing the project. The elder Bandukra purchased the Atlantic Avenue property in 2001.
Previously, the site held several apartment buildings with different attached and detached garages, and Usman decided in the early 2000s to redevelop the property. He was in the process of turning it into an 18-unit condo in 2011, but Tropical Storm Irene and Superstorm Sandy struck, and the plans were put on hold.
In 2020, plans were approved for the new complex, which is scheduled for completion by Oct. 1, marking the latest contribution the Bandukra family has made to the community.
Usman Bandukra, who arrived from India in 1973, is president of the commercial real estate agency S&S Group. His father was a businessman who owned a store in a major train station terminal in Mumbai, India. Usman earned an accounting in India, which he said helped him provide a better life for his family when he came to the United States. He moved to Manhattan and worked in a factory before later beginning his career in the transportation retail business, working at a newsstand in the city subway system.
“I was doing what I had to do to survive,” he said. “I had to work.”
Usman was eventually able to purchase a newsstand in Grand Central Station. What started with one newsstand soon grew to several, and expanded to other locations in other states. He received government contracts to set up newsstands not only for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but also Metro North, New Jersey Transit and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. At one point he owned 140 newsstands.
He purchased property for an office in Oceanside in 1982, and moved into a home in town with his family in 1988. Bandukra said he has long valued education, adding that the Oceanside school district was a big reason he moved into the community.
“My father always told me that his education mattered,” Ubaid Bandukra said. “Even though he wasn’t practicing as an accountant, his education helped him in his career.”
Using the experience he gained from the newsstand business, Usman ventured into the real estate world. In 1992 he purchased a 7-Eleven on Merrick Road in Valley Stream. He opened two more stores, in Garden City and on Lawson Boulevard in Oceanside, and purchased several more properties in Oceanside. In the early 2000s, he partnered with Hudson News and opened several newsstand locations under the brand Metro News. Later he took over the Metro News brand and his family carried it on.
Usman managed rental, commercial and residential properties in the 1990s and early 2000s. He would purchase properties in disrepair, fix them up and rent them out.
Joe Pontecorvo, president of the Island Park Public Library board, who has been a friend of the Bandukras since they moved to Oceanside, said the family has been a tremendous asset to the area, with a work ethic that was second to none.
“I see somebody that gets up at 5 in the morning, opens up, and puts in 12 hours of work a day,” Pontecorvo said. “Those are the kinds of people I want to know. They came, worked hard, and made a difference in the community.”
Ubaid Bandukra joined his father as a business partner in 2011, after graduating with a business degree from the University of Maryland. He is the director of the S&S Group, and is also enrolled in law school part-time at St. John’s University.
“The knowledge seemed important to me, and that’s why I wanted to go to law school,” Ubaid said. “I was corresponding with seven attorneys that handle different things. I need to have at least a legal background to understand what they’re saying to be able to better navigate the process.”
Usman credited the education he received from his accounting degree for his successful in the commercial real estate world, and said he was happy that he could emphasize the value of education with his son.
“I believe in one thing, and that is education is most important,” Usman said. “If he had a good education, he would learn a lot, and now he’s doing a lot. I think, together, we have made a good team.”