Downtown BID turns down request to find better site for strip club

Says it cannot in good conscience recommend a downtown location

730 N. Old World Third is where Silk owners are planning to open a strip club.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:13 pm

Members of the downtown Milwaukee Business Improvement District have decided not to make a recommendation to the Milwaukee Common Council for an alternate location for a downtown strip club.

730 N. Old World Third is where several attempts have been made to open a strip club.
730 N. Old World Third is where several attempts have been made to open a strip club.

The BID was asked for recommendations following a three hour licensing committee hearing April 17 that ended without a vote.

After hearing from more than a dozen downtown business owners who said granting a license to a strip club operator to open an establishment at 730 N. Old World Third, near West Wisconsin Avenue, would jeopardize their businesses, the panel asked the BID to weigh-in on another location.

During the April 17 meeting, the BID was a strong opponent of allowing a strip club on Old World Third. In a statement today, the BID said it could not recommend an alternate location for a downtown strip club.

“Unfortunately, we never understood that a viable location was constrained to rigid geographic boundaries that the gentlemen’s club operators have since established,” said a statement released Monday by the BID. “We have discussed this request with our property owners and tenants and cannot in good conscious recommend a downtown location that would not be subject to adverse secondary effects.”

Some city officials recently worked to strike a deal with Silk Exotic owners and members of the Buzdum family to open a strip club in downtown Milwaukee in exchange for them dropping lawsuits filed against the city after previous attempts to open a downtown strip club were denied.

The club would be owned by Radomir Buzdum and Silk owners, Joe Modl and Scott Krahn. Craig Ploetz, who is also one of the owners of Silk Exotic, would run the day-to-day operation.

During the April 17 meeting, Beth Weirick, chief executive officer of the downtown Business Improvement District, told the committee that a strip club is a direct conflict with the comprehensive plan the council adopted for downtown.

“Let’s not let lawsuits make decisions for us that we will have forever,” Weirick said. “Be strong stewards for this city. Please, I implore you do not settle. There is a way out of this.”

In the statement released Monday, the BID said it would work collaboratively with the city toward a solution to resolve the pending lawsuits and avoid future ones.

“We cannot compromise our primary mission of serving as a voice for our assessment-paying property owners and an economic catalyst for downtown,” the statement said.

The Licenses Committee voted 3-2 to hold the matter last week with Aldermen Tony Zielinski and Jose Perez voting against delaying the vote. The committee will hold a special meeting to review the matter again at  1:30 p.m. Monday Zielinski said.

Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, who suggested the BID find a new location could not immediately be reached for comment.

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