Trustee Dave Seaman has asked the village to approve Class 8 re-classifications for two properties downtown, at 17200 and 17210 South Oak Park Avenue. The tax reclassification for the latter property was approved by the village board Oct. 1 while the former is expected to be granted at next week's meeting.
Under his resolutions, the properties would receive a reduction on their property tax rates, from 25 to 10 percent, for a ten-year period because the property has been vacant for more than a year. These two resolutions will allow an artisan craft shop to open, as well as a craft brewery, records show.
"We hope it's the beginning of a trend," said Seaman, who is also Finance chairman. "Obviously it's bad to have empty spaces and it's good to have full spaces, so we hope this is the beginning of a trend back to downtown Tinley."
Seaman said it's difficult to get a big store on Oak Park, as those types of businesses will gravitate toward high volume streets like Harlem Avenue or LaGrange Road. But, he said, Oak Park can be a "niche market" for entrepreneurs to go in and do "what the big box stores can't do.
"That's the opportunity that lies in downtown Tinley," Seaman said.
The Cook County Board on July 17 approved an amendment to the Class 8 and Class 6B Property Tax Classification Ordinance that will allow "significant tax breaks" for business development in Bremen, Rich, Calumet, Bloom and Thornton townships, Tinley Park officials said at the time.
Without the incentive, the village said, the property owners would not be able to lease the location, according to the village.
Donald Ross, who owns the space at 17210 South Oak Park Avenue, said he bought the location in 2005. His wife started a floral business at the time, he said, but decided to close it down after five steady years of hard work.
"It happens," Ross said. "We took a chance."
At the time he bought the property, Tinley Park had big plans to renovate and expand the downtown area but those plans were put on hold following the economic meltdown, Ross said. Village officials have, in the past, cited the "gaping holes" on Oak Park as something that needs to be addressed.
Ross credited Ivan Baker, the village's director of Economic Development, for helping him understand the tax reclassification.
The artisan craft shop could open later this fall, according to Eileen Coleman, the store's proprietor. It will be called "Different Decades" and sell "eclectic antique and artisan objects."