North Jersey funeral home to be reborn as strip mall

Owner of 120-year-old Wayne mortuary strikes deal with commercial developer

1591 Alps Road in Wayne, NJ and March Associates Construction president Louis March (Google Maps, Getty, March Associates)
1591 Alps Road in Wayne, NJ and March Associates Construction president Louis March (Google Maps, Getty, March Associates)

Though the rise of online shopping has prompted eulogies for physical retail, a funeral home in Passaic County could soon be reborn as a strip mall.

An affiliate of Wayne-based developer March Associates Construction is in contract to buy Moore’s Home for Funerals, which has operated in the Passaic County town since 1902, NorthJersey.com reported. If the deal is approved, March Associates plans to replace the mortuary with a 10,000-square-foot shopping center with up to five storefronts.

An application to raze the building at 1591 Alps Road must first pass a review by the town’s planning board and go through a public hearing, which could take weeks. The 8,000-square-foot funeral home sits on one-and-a-half acres at the southwest corner of a busy intersection with Hamburg Turnpike that’s already home to multiple shopping plazas.

March Associates has managed more than $2.8 billion worth of projects across eight states, plus Washington, D.C. The firm’s recent developments in North Jersey include a five-story apartment complex in Hackensack, a 55-acre mixed-use complex in Teterboro and a nearby shopping center in Wayne anchored by a Trader Joe’s.

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If approved, its strip mall on the funeral home site would coincide with a multimillion-dollar infrastructure project to ease traffic at the intersection by creating two jughandles, thereby eliminating left turns.

Strip malls have shown greater resilience during the pandemic than traditional shopping malls. A Green Street analysis published in December found that malls in the U.S. had lost a third of their value since 2017. The values of strip malls, however, had increased nearly 5 percent since 2016 and 13 percent since the start of the pandemic.

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— Holden Walter-Warner