It was reported earlier this month that Finnigan's Wake, the often maligned bar at 3rd and Spring Garden is for sale. Among the selling points in the real-estate listing: "Bill #120395 has given Bodine St. has vacated parcel for the City and is permitted for outdoor seating Bill #120396 has given a permitted ability to allow balconies/ability to deck the rooftop for the next owner... and very much more."
That refers to two pieces of legislation sponsored by Councilman Mark Squilla: The first, to strike Bodine Street — which neighbors have long complained that Finnigan's blocked with its dumpster — and replace it with a landscaped pedestrian walkway and outdoor seating. Today, the dumpster is moved but the plans to revive the street haven't materialized. It's now blocked daily with parked cars instead — presumably belonging to someone at Finnigan's or to their friends at the Democratic City Committee next door. The second ordinance was to build large balconies over Spring Garden Street's sidewalk; Squilla had to override a veto by Mayor Nutter to pass that one.
So, we asked Squilla: Was giving Finnigan's owners a street and a sidewalk so that they could make some extra cash in a sale — without ever even doing the agreed-on improvements — his intention? Because, well, that doesn't seem like a great precedent.
His response: "That was not the intention and I have reached out to the ownership to find out the details."
Rumor in the neighborhood is that the bar may not actually be for sale, and that the listing may have something to do with a difference of opinion among the co-owners. Owner Mike Driscoll did not respond to an email requesting comment.
Matt Ruben, president of the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association, says that in the meantime, neighbors are still upset about the state of Bodine Street, of which they don't think Finnigan's has been good a good steward.
"I get complaints and negative commentary about the state of Bodine Street regularly, and we have to explain to people that, since the ordinances were passed, that Bodine Street is now privately owned and that means that we no longer have the ability to get them cited," Ruben said. "They can do almost whatever they want on the property now."
The owners, new or old, have two years to get the property in order. "And even then," Ruben adds, "we're dependent upon the city to enforce that deadline."
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