winnetka heights church

The plan to reuse a 1929 church in the Winnetka Heights Historic District for an educational art, theater and dance studio received preliminary approval Thursday.

The City Plan Commission approved a plan to allow the studios for five years. After five years, the owners will have to return to the commission for renewal.

Lola and Todd Lott, who own a film post-production studio, bought the 87-year-old church on Windomere at Twelfth as a way to give back to the community. Their workers are painstakingly restoring it to historical accuracy, including repairing and remaking dozens of windows by hand. The restoration could cost as much as $600,000.

Their proposal to reuse the old church was met with opposition from the Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association, which suggested the planned studio could “mess with success” of the historic district. But the owners worked out some differences with the neighborhood association’s board, which now supports the project.

The Lotts’ proposal now must gain approval from the full City Council.