By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Jun 14, 2012 at 10:05 AM

My wife - who is on the Historic Third Ward executive committee, is a former business improvement district director and co-founder of Lela - and I were discussing the Sydney HIH building recently. And, she made a very Austin-type comment. Milwaukee needs more weird. So, of course, I told her to blog her thoughts. Here they are.

Why Weird Works
by Stephanie Sherman

Milwaukee is home to beautiful architecture, rich history and new cutting edge development and art. We also have our share of weird; the Bronze Fonz, that car ("God Mobile") that drives on Downtown covered in opinions, deceased icons like Dick Bacon and Pepperoni Cannoli Guy, and, one could even argue for Nyjer Morgan.

And, with all of its charm and pending death sentence, the Sydney HIH building is weird and we should embrace it.

Sydney HIH has become something people talk about, tell urban legends about and brag about being a part of. Why tear it down? I understand the City's desire to clear the way for something new. But how about embracing it and making it truly art?  It's time for more Milwaukee leaders to take risks.

It was the home of artists, musicians and so much more.  Now, could it, the building itself, become public art?   Think something better than "plop art" like the Beasties or temporary sculptures.  Let's make it a formal tribute to what it created. Fill it with sand if it is uninhabitable. Cover it in color. Let's let artist Reggie Baylor cover it once again with bold color!

I understand the desire to clear the way for a large, pinnacle development. And I understand that no developer is interested in purchasing and redeveloping the building given its uninhabitable condition. So, develop around it.

This is Milwaukee. Every day tourists stop in amazement at the beauty of the old architecture in our Downtown. We need every last bit of the past. It is our competitive edge. It is what makes us better than other cities.

I saw the owner of Zappos speak several years ago on what makes his company successful. Certainly great service, an excellent product were mentioned. But, he also mentioned the "weird factor."

Weird works for Milwaukee. Let's not lose out on the chance to preserve weird. It's time for more color and beauty to thrive as parts of our Downtown landscape.

Stephanie Sherman is co-founder of Lela boutique, an economic development professional and much more.  

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.