By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Feb 25, 2011 at 8:40 AM

Between 1990 and 2006, Downtown Milwaukee had the second largest population in comparison to peer cities. More than Charlotte, Indy, Pittsburgh and several others.

Since 2006, this number has continued to rise (but, I couldn't find updated census figures). Anyway, our Downtown has more 15,000 residents and when you add the nearly 85,000 daily employees and nearly 100,000 area college kids, the Downtown market is primed and ready for bigger retail.

Why, then, hasn't big retail followed residential? This is a big answer and one rooted in culture, the change that the Web has brought, Grand Avenue, Downtown traffic patterns, lack of a coordinated, Downtown transportation system and much, much more.

I won't bite off this mammoth retail question now, rather focus on what's hot. And, that seems to be the closing of Borders and what could replace it.  I added my two cents on this here, but let's now take the discussion to the next level.  I'm not necessarily saying what could move into the Borders space, rather which retailer could take its place as the prime, well-known Downtown store.

Borders' bankruptcy and store closings immediately launched calls for a Downtown Milwaukee Target. Nothing new, but timely. Now, Target could never go into the Borders' space but it is a good target (so to speak) for Downtown.

If the city could provide the necessary space, incentives and customers for a large, "discount" retailer which one would you want? Let's list three options.

Target: Seemingly everyone loves Target. They've looked at Downtown, and brokers would love to see them. Chicago is on their agenda, and an urban Target -- I think -- could work in the Park East or near the Shops of Grand Avenue.

Kohl's: Kohl's is our hometown national retailer, but they don't have a flagship Downtown store. Why not? Would you shop there? Is it a good fit? Discuss.

Walmart: Walmart continues to take over the world. But, you have go to Capitol Drive for one and it's an older space without a grocery store. Would a Downtown Walmart fly? Maybe, but they'd need a ton of space and are already rapidly expanding in areas around Milwaukee.

I'm not a real estate or retail expert, but would like your opinion. If Downtown Milwaukee could only snag one of these big retailers which one would you want?

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.