Michael Horne

Will City Smooth The Way for Silk?

Silk applies to run strip club in city-owned garage across from Bradley Center.

By - Nov 14th, 2013 02:44 pm
The now closed Centercourt Pub and Grille.

The now closed Centercourt Pub and Grille.

A week after the city denied it a license to open at 720 N. Old World Third Street, owners of Silk Exotic Gentlemen’s Club have a new location in mind — a city-owned building that has been home to a series of unsuccessful bars, most recently Centercourt Pub and Grille.

The retail space is at 1118 N. 4th St., in the first floor of a city-owned parking garage with a street address of 324 W. Highland Ave.

A Class “B” Tavern application was submitted to the City Clerk’s License Division on Wednesday, November 13th by Downtown Silk MKE LLC.

A supplemental application asks for permission to host “Adult Entertainment / Strippers / Erotic Dance,” “Patron Contests,” “Dance by Performers,” “Patrons Dancing” and 5 amusement machines.

The club did not ask for permission for “Poetry Readings,” “Karaoke,” or “Wrestling.” This is to be a classy joint.

The former operators of Centercourt stiffed the landlord (you) for approximately $200,000 in rent for the sports bar, leading Alderman Bob Bauman to sponsor successful legislation mandating semi-annual reports to the council on the status of all leases held on city buildings.

Center Court 1118 LLC opened the Center Court Pub & Grille in December 2009. It was already in arrears to the city by autumn, 2010. Total payments to the city were only $36,250, about one-fifth of what was due, according to a newsletter from the alderman.

The proposed location is across the street from the BMO Harris Bradley Center property, facing a featureless wall that obscures a parking lot. It is deadsville, as far as street life is concerned, and the only residents in sight are located high above the fray in the Moderne Building. [Neighborhood opposition was cited as a factor in the denial of the license at 720 N. Old World Third St. on November 8th.]

This proposed site is a tax-exempt structure that sits on land valued at $734,000. The building itself is valued at $200,000 by the city assessor.

The application also comes with a court decision favoring the club. The city may be placed in a difficult position if it, as a potential landlord of a vacant building, would refuse to accept the application of a qualified business operating legally and within existing zoning regulations.

[A Service Request was made to the City noting: “New application for tavern license. Please check for 300′ rule.” The rule sets restrictions on the proximity of alcohol beverage establishments from certain other public uses.]

The matter has been sent to the Licenses Committee, which has yet to place it on its agenda. A hearing date in early January, 2014, would seem most likely.


5 thoughts on “Will City Smooth The Way for Silk?”

  1. John G. says:

    Black the windows out, charge exorbitant rent and watch Silk still be happy with convention center traffic, weekend revelers, and after sports events traffic. City will pull in a large amount of much needed revenue. Move on to something more important.

  2. D says:

    Let them build already. It’s a strip club, not a whorehouse. What problems will this cause? These clubs have tighter security than a Brinks truck. At this location, they may as well be building on the surface of the moon.

  3. Jeff says:

    This is the wrong place to house a strip club. For suburban and exurban families coming to the BC for a game or event, the strip club will be their image of downtown. First impressions count. John’s idea to black out the windows is even worse: You not only have many would consider a questionable business, it’s housed in what looks like a dirty bookstore.

    The main problem is the poorly designed parking structure, which kills any “legitimate” business located there. Now the city is desperate to fill that space with anything that will pay the rent.

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @Jeff I’ll just point out that there is a strip club across the street from the Target Center in Minneapolis and in all the years of hearing about how great a city Minneapolis I can never once remember anyone even mentioning this fact. I’ll also point to Portland, which is another city that is constantly complimented, and has strip clubs in their downtown. I stayed at a super nice Kimpton (just might have been my favorite hotel stay ever), and there were two additional super high-end hotels just down the street from a strip club. Point being it can be done well enough that it isn’t a problem

  5. John G. says:


    I suggest you get out more. Most drinking establishments have little to no direct visibility into them. There are plenty of ways to make make it aesthetically non-descript. Quit picturing Hamburg in the 1960s. There will not be fluorescent boob lights, although those sound pretty sweet.

    And Dave, you draw the best comparisons possible I am aware of. Portland is considered one of the shining stars of American Urban areas of the last 20 years and there are plenty of these establishments in the downtown area. Union Jack’s is a pretty interesting place.

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