Debate brewing over plan to demolish funeral home seen on 'The Sopranos'

The Irvine Cozzarelli Memorial Home was built in 1885 and is considered an architectural gem by preservationists.

News 12 Staff

Oct 21, 2022, 10:27 PM

Updated 633 days ago

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A developer is looking to demolish a funeral home in Belleville with a connection to people from New Jersey and beyond.
The Irvine Cozzarelli Memorial Home was built in 1885 and is considered an architectural gem by preservationists. It was also the setting for many of the wakes and funerals on "The Sopranos."
Michael Perrone, president of the Belleville Historical Society, says the building is in perfect shape and could be turned into apartments, offices or a restaurant.
"The building is in immaculate condition," says Perrone. "Every room, every floor, and every ceiling is perfect."
The Belleville Council passed a measure last month that allows the planning board to investigate whether the site of the funeral home is an area in need of redevelopment. That measure allows towns and builders to proceed with ways to improve the area.
Premier Developers, of Englewood Cliffs, is under contract to buy the funeral home.
Frank Cozzarelli, the cousin of the late owners, says the family tried to find another funeral home operator to take over the property but was unsuccessful. Cozzarelli says he doesn't think the home is a historical piece of property, adding that it needs a lot of work.
The lawyers for Premier Developers will now argue that the property is blighted and needs to be knocked down.


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