By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Sep 16, 2010 at 4:22 PM
Here's the latest news on the planned strip club, Silk East, in Downtown Milwaukee.

Below is, vertatim, a news release sent from Milwaukee Downtown, B.I.D. No. 21.  Milwaukee Downtown is an organization established in 1998 to support the interests of the Downtown Milwaukee business community.

This morning, the Board of Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21 voted unanimously to object and oppose the application of Silk East for Class B tavern and/or tavern amusement licenses at 730 N. Old World Third St.

The Board views Silk East's operations as a direct conflict with the Downtown Master Plan Update, adopted by the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee yesterday; and inconsistent with BID #21's own Downtown Milwaukee Streetfront Retail Strategy and Merchandise Mix Plan.

"BID #21 and its stakeholders have been working diligently with City representatives to drive positive economic activity," said Beth Nicols, executive director of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. "In the face of our efforts, the Board believes supporting any licenses would be a step backward, not forward. A strip club neither fits the vision of the Downtown Master Plan nor the Streetfront Retail Strategy."

Downtown offices have long been the greatest concentration of jobs and tax base in the City. In addition, this past decade has brought a growing residential community, wonderful restaurants, and enhanced arts, events and entertainment opportunities. Most recent efforts of BID #21 and City representatives have focused specifically on enlivening the streets of downtown with retail shops.

 BID #21 has invested heavily in developing and implementing its Merchandize Mix Plan-a plan that focuses on upscale retailers, unique in the regional marketplace. In May, after many months of work, BID #21 and the City partnered to create the Central Business District Focus Retail Program-in which both the City and BID #21 provide funding for white box grants and loans to ready retail space to attract new shops to open. Already hundreds of retail leads have been identified and pursued, and one retail deal was made final earlier this year.

As the holidays approach, BID #21 will host a Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Retail Emporium with several retail shops operating from vacant downtown storefront for the holiday shopping season. All of these shops have expressed interest in maintaining a Downtown retail presence permanently. Downtown is poised to make significant strides toward enhancing positive retail offerings-but only if forward momentum continues.

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.