Sopranos’ landmark could be torn down in Belleville, NJ
As preservationists scramble to save an historic funeral home used in HBO's The Sopranos, Belleville officials may clear the way for it's demolition.
The Cozzarelli Memorial Home was featured in multiple scenes from seasons 1-6 of The Sopranos, most famously as the funeral locations for Tony's mother.
Owner James Cozzarrelli, who also appeared on the show, is dead. His estate has agreed to sell the property to a developer.
The building dates back to 1885. While the outside is a typical brick façade, the inside is ornate and custom designed by the late owner.
Local officials have already instructed the Belleville Planning Board to to consider if the area where the home sits on Washington Avenue should be designated as an "area in need of development." If they do, it would clear the way for the sale and redevelopment of the property.
The building would likely be torn down and the site used for new apartments.
NJ.com reports the pending sale still needs to clear a few hurdles, including the designation by the planning board, but could be finalized by early 2023.
The Belleville Historical Society says, "It is our hope that the township makes every effort to preserve this building so that any future development proposal will allow it to continue to enhance Washington Avenue."
The society notes the building's importance to The Sopranos, but says long before the show, "the building had a nationwide reputation for an interior with its artistic and architectural beauty. Thanks to the creative genius of the late James Cozzarellii, this artistic masterpiece, second to none, exists in Belleville, it rivals any fine home anywhere in New Jersey."
For now, the future of the building remains in limbo. No timetable was given for the planning board to complete an assessment.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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