Trying again: Licensing Committee to again take up proposal for Silk Exotic club near downtown

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- He's trying again! The owner of Silk Exotic wants to open an "upscale gentleman's club" near downtown Milwaukee. The city's Licensing Committee has said "no" more than once, but Jon Ferraro hopes that on Wednesday, December 9th, he'll finally get approval.

"I really feel positive. It`s the best I`ve felt going in," Ferraro said.

Ferraro says the process has been a test of persistence.

"We`ve looked at probably three dozen locations. We`ve applied at, I don`t even know, I`ve lost count now -- four or five times we`ve applied and been shut down," Ferraro said.

Ferraro has been trying to open a Silk Exotic location near downtown Milwaukee, but the city's Licensing Committee has consistently said "no."

"There`s been a lot of opposition, but there`s been a lot of people in favor too. Our biggest hurdle is the people who are in favor -- a lot of them are afraid to come out because there`s a stigma," Ferraro said.

Ferraro hopes to hope the club in one of two locations.

The first option is at South 5th Street and West Virginia.


The second is at South Barclay and Walker.

The manager of one Walker's Point establishment says he'd welcome Silk as a neighbor.

"I mean, the way we look at it is more people in this neighborhood creates more possible business for us. I kinda looked into his places when it came up, and it seems they generally don`t have any real write-ups, and no one has a lot of negative things to say about them,"

Silk's support from several business owners is reflected in letters sent to a Milwaukee alderman -- but there are also letters opposing Silk opening near downtown.

One says: "This is a neighborhood of families, schools, non-profits. The last thing we need is a strip club."

Another reads: "I consider a strip club in my community a very bad cultural message."

"Downtown Milwaukee is in need of entertainment. Everybody talks about entertainment district and things to do in this city and a lot of bar owners will show up (Wednesday) saying there`s no action here," Ferraro said.

Also working in Silk's favor when they appear before the Licensing Committee Wednesday is a recent lawsuit in which a federal judge has sided with Silk's owners, saying portions of the ordinances used to deny their license were unconstitutional.

Ferraro says they're willing to drop that suit if they're issued a license.

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