Is this the Future of Vanella’s Prohibition-Era Funeral Home on Madison Street?

Posted on: April 10th, 2019 at 5:00 am by

Out with the old, in with the glass. Look no further than the (shuttered) hundred-year-old Vanella’s Funeral Home on Madison Street.

The relic assemblage – in business as a mortuary here since the Prohibition era – sold for $7.8 million back in January. The buyer was Eric Pang of Metro City Acquisition LLC, according to public record.

Meanwhile, this undated Christie’s listing (for $13.8 million) pitches the 5,600 square-foot property as, what else, the perfect development opportunity. Buildable up to 36,500 square-feet. There is even this rendering of a potential future outcome – glass with Starbucks and a gallery on the ground floor.

Photo: Christie’s

Vanella’s Funeral Chapel dates back a century (1918). Its founder, Robert “Roxie” Vanella, was a gangster-cum-undertaker who lived on James Street, and ran in the same circles as Johnnie Torrio and Al Capone. Decades later – in 1965 – the mortuary expanded with a Long Island location in Oceanside.

Yet, the family business reportedly came undone in 2017 due to infighting and legal disputes within the ranks of latter-day ownership. Both locations closed shortly thereafter.

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