Finnigan’s Wake redevelopment deal back from the dead

Tim Finnegan was a hod carrier with a weakness for strong spirits. One morning, after drinking some whiskey before work, he fell off a ladder and died. At his wake, his friends feasted on tea and cake, then moved on to pipes, tobacco, and brandy punch. A fight broke out. A bottle of whiskey was thrown, and some of the liquor landed on Finnegan’s corpse, reviving him.

On St. Patrick’s Day, City Councilman Mark Squilla introduced a bill that would rezone the block surrounded by 2nd, 3rd, Spring Garden, and Green streets to make way for a proposed office development. That block is home to Finnigan’s Wake, a now-closed Irish bar that was once the unofficial Democratic Party headquarters in Philadelphia.

Squilla first introduced the bill that would allow for the office development last May. But the proposal later fell through. Rather than leave the new CMX-3 commercial zoning in place, Squilla introduced another bill, zoning it back down to CMX-2. The Planning Commission approved the original upzoning, and later approved the subsequent downzoning.

Now the office development proposal is back, and Squilla wants the site to back up to CMX-3. The proposal is almost exactly the same as the first time, Squilla said.

“The process is still early, and the reason why we introduced it and passed it and then withdrew it is because the deal fell apart, so now the deal is back on the table again, and we’re hoping to encourage that to happen,” Squilla said.

Why didn’t he just leave the CMX-3 zoning in place when the deal fell through?

“We could have, but I think the community was a little afraid that if we left it  there and then something else went in there as of right … they wouldn’t have input in this process.”

Bedad! He revives, see how he rises! Finnegan rising from the bed!

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