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Flossmoor board endorses property tax break for new orthodontist office

An orthodontist practice that is relocating to downtown Flossmoor earned support for its tax reduction bid from the Flossmoor Village Board of Trustees at its Feb. 5 meeting.
All Smiles Orthodontics Inc. is assuming ownership of the former salon space at 2635 Flossmoor Road. The business requested the village put its backing behind a Class 8 tax incentive that will allow All Smiles Orthodontics to pay property taxes on the building at a lower rate for the first 12 years of occupation. 
For the first 10 years, the tax rate will be 10 percent; it will increase to 15 percent in year 11 and 20 percent in year 12. After it expires, the property’s tax rate will return to the normal 25 percent for its business property classification.
Attorney Adam Dotson, who represented the business before the board, said the tax incentive is necessary for relieving the burden of renovating the space, previously occupied by Jonathan Kane Salon & Spa. Estimates for converting the interior from a salon to an orthodontist practice have already exceeded $100,000. 
Dotson also requested the board overlook a 24-month vacancy requirement for the Class 8 incentive, citing a Special Circumstances exemption. 
“This is already a bank-owned property and it’s finally getting back on the market,” Dotson told the board. “Plus, 24 months is kind of an arbitrary requirement.”
Dotson estimates that, without the Class 8 incentive, taxes on the property would be about $32,500. With the Class 8 classification, he estimates the taxes will be about $14,000. He said what the village will lose in tax revenue, it will gain in a viable business that already serves 500 patients, a portion of whom will patronize local coffee shops and stores.
Flossmoor Trustee James Mitros spoke in favor of granting support for the tax incentive. He said properties surrounding the building in question are mixed-use, allowing them to qualify for the 10 percent residential tax rate. 
“I’ve always thought this little package here was at a disadvantage because it’s just an office and it’s taxed at the higher rate,” Mitros said.
All Smiles Orthodontics is owned by Dr. Fadi Akhras, an orthodontist who is currently operating from a leased space at 19710 Governors Highway in Flossmoor. Akhras also has practices in Frankfort and Plainfield. Dotson said he planned to attend the meeting personally but his “5:30s became 6:15s,” and poor weather conditions meant he couldn’t make it from Plainfield in time.
Trustees unanimously approved the resolution of support for the tax incentive. The village legal firm will prepare a document expressing their support to be sent to the Cook County Assessor’s Office, which makes the ultimate decision.
Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun cautioned Dotson that the board will have no plans to renew the tax incentive for the orthodontist office. Jonathan Kane Salon moved its business out of the Flossmoor building to Homewood after the board refused a request for a Class 8 extension in January, 2014.

Salon owner Larry Kane subsequently asked the board to extend the Class 8 tax break to a prospective tenant in December, 2015. That request was also rejected,although five of seven board members voted to extend the tax break. The extension required a super majority of six votes.

“I want you to understand that the board’s policy is not extending Class 8 tax incentives,” Braun said. 
Dotson assured the board that Akhras views downtown Flossmoor as a solid investment and has no plans to move once the Class 8 incentive expires, which should be in 2030.

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