Vote held tonight stalls plans to open new strip club downtown

NOW: Vote held tonight stalls plans to open new strip club downtown

MILWAUKEE - Plans to open a downtown strip club are stalled. Milwaukee's Licenses Committee put everything in limbo tonight.

The committee voted to hold the decision meaning that the proposal is not going anywhere.

The full Common Council will not have the chance to vote on the plan which not only affects the city downtown but the courtroom as well.

The vote was 3 to 2 to do nothing.

"I'm surprised by the recommendation. We did not see 'hold' as an alternative. We were hoping that we would get a decision up or down and then that the council would have been able to make the final decision," said Sarah Crandall, Attorney for Silk Exotic.

The spot on North Old World Third Street is about a block away from The Shops on Grand Avenue.

Opponents of Silk Exotic moving downtown say the adult entertainment wouldn't help long-term development goals. 

“I would like to see strong leadership where we dig deep and do the right thing for the city. I think the impact of this decision, absolutely, is going to be generational," said Beth Weirick of the Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District. 

But the subcontext to this meeting is this deal: the promise that the club owners would drop their lawsuits against the city if the downtown license was approved. Last year, a city official approved a $970,000 payment to a club owner related to a court case specifically about this property.

"If we're not going to get a license then we have no reason to stop with the federal lawsuits. I think we all have to digest what happened today and figure out next steps both on our end and on the council end and the city attorney's end. Discussions will be ongoing with all stakeholders on this, so." said Consultant Christopher Meuler.

The next time this issue could be discussed at the city level is at the next licensing committee. Even then, the chair of that committee, Alderman Tony Zielinski, would have to put it on their agenda which he may.

Today he did vote against the motion to hold the decision. 

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