After seven years of failed attempts, a new strip club is coming to downtown Milwaukee.
The club owners’ plans to open a gentlemen’s club on Old World Third near Grand Avenue won Common Council approval Tuesday.
New business near Grand Avenue is usually welcomed by all, but this decision comes with controversy for businesses, workers and residents.
"If they pay their money they should be able to do what they want to do," said Teauraun Aaron.
Walter Lanier said that's the last thing this developing area needs.
"We're already known as one of the human trafficking capitals in the nation and I think that this can continue to open that door more widely," he said.
The Common Council’s 10-5 decision came after a heated debate.
“In effect, we are being asked to trade a license for the settlements of lawsuits,” said Alderman Robert Bauman.
Bauman pointed out that Silk Exotic has been denied a license for a downtown strip club on five previous attempts. This time, Bauman said the only difference is pending litigation.
"Our city attorneys have indicated there's a strong likelihood that we could lose anywhere from $8 to $20 million if we don't reach a settlement,” said Alderman Tony Zielinski.
Zielinski says the group of owners for this strip club have a reputable background and agreed to drop their lawsuits against the city with the approval of licensure.
Zielinski said the Executive Lounge Gentlemen's Club isn’t expected to open for a few months.
At a committee meeting last month, representatives from businesses including the nearby Shops of Grand Avenue testified that the strip club would hurt their ability to lease commercial space.
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