Tower Cleaners and Faso Pizza Face Big Move

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Tower Cleaners and Faso Pizza were told to move their businesses by July 1 or begin paying taxes in addition to the rent they already pay. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Owners of the building in the 200 block of Blackhawk told Tower Cleaners and Faso Pizza that they have until July 1st to move their businesses, or pay taxes in addition to rent. Janet Fiorenzo, owner of Tower Cleaners, said she is working with Hildy Kingma, Director of Planning & Economic Development for the Village of Park Forest, to move into the Downtown area.  

"Faso's Pizza and I received letters from the Exceptional Developmental Institute, a day care service, stating that from May 1st we had 60 days to move out of here because [Mrs. Bibbs] has a tax exempt status on this property up here, and if she keeps renting to the cleaners and the pizza place we will ruin her tax exempt," Fiorenzo said Saturday. "So we have to get out. Otherwise, if we continue to stay after the 60 days, we have to pay our rent, plus the taxes on the building."

Fiorenzo provided the text of the letter she received:

We regret to inform you and your company that based on our tax-exempt status,we can no longer rent out the space you are occupying. The tax-exempt status has been given exclusively to the Exceptional Developmental Institute. Therefore, we are giving you a sixty-day notice to move your business.

We have no other choice. If you remain in that space, your rent would be $1,160.00 plus taxes due, per month. However, you may pay May, 2007 rent and use your deposit as your June 2007 last month rent payment. If you have any questions, please contact my office, Monday thru Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, at [number deleted for privacy purposes]. 

Sincerely,
Lucy Bibbs
Executive Director
Exceptional Developmental Institute
DBA: Christian Children Center

Fiorenzo says her share of taxes on the building, "could be thousands of dollars every month." 

"That's why we're securing a position in the Downtown [Park Forest] location, and I think Faso's is talking to Hildy [Kingma] too," Fiorenzo added. "None of us really want to leave Park Forest. Our plan is to stay here, just move a couple of blocks over."

"We have 60 days to move."  Fiorenza said she has already made arrangements with someone who will take down her conveyor system used for the clothing, and put everything in place in the new 

Fiorenzo says she has received good response from her customers, saying they will follow her to the new location.  An employee of Tower Cleaners, Cait Phipps, commented on the generosity of their customers, "We've already have a couple customers offer to help us move to our new location."

Reached by phone, Mrs. Lucy Bibbs, said that Exceptional Developmental Institute, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit corporation. Illinois Secretary of State records show the original incorporation date as 04/12/1990.  Mrs. Bibbs says she is Executive Director of the corporation, which  received its NFP status in 2005.

"We’re going to be doing child care there," Mrs. Bibbs said. "They’re not being evicted. Neither one of those parties have leases at this time."  She said that both Tower Cleaners and Faso Pizza are on a month-to-month lease.  "We’ve been talking back and forth. It’s not hostile at all," she said. "I have nothing against them."

Mrs. Bibbs said a tax bill of $100,000 for the three buildings necessitated asking the businesses to leave or pay their share of the tax bill, "If they remained, each would have [annual] tax bills of $30,000 each."

“I would be heartbroken to say you have $20,000 or $30,000 extra [per year] to pay on your rent. If they feel they need more time, they need to call me. If I was evicting them, I know how to evict, I would have given them a 5 day notice."  Mrs. Bibbs added that neither business called her since receiving the letters, "“If they would’ve called, they would’ve had a better explanation.”  She added, "You can’t always put everything on a letter.”

Mrs. Bibbs said that the building needs a lot of repairs, "and we can't do that with them in there."  She said that she does not charge either business for water, "We pay the water bill, we do the snow plow, we do the common ground maintenance."

“If the Village wants to forgive the taxes, they could stay forever," Mrs. Bibbs added.