Here’s a Building Permit You Don’t See in Chicago Very Often

The newest million-dollar project to get the stamp of approval from Chicago City Hall isn’t a two-flat walk-up in Wrigleyville, or a condo renovation in the Gold Coast.  It’s something else entirely.


The last horse riding arena in downtown Chicago was demolished in 2009.  It was the 1929 Chicago Riding Club building, designed by Rebori, Wentworth, Dewey & McCormick.  Most people knew it by its last vocation: The home of CBS Radio and Television’s Chicago operations.

Not an MS Paint depiction of the new horse arena

Not an MS Paint depiction of the new horse arena

This new riding arena is being built at 3857 West 111th Street.  Most people know it by its current vocation: The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.

While the conventional wisdom is that the only farming activity in Chicago is in hipster Bridgeport warehouses, or at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  But as long as you and I (and especially I) keep eating, we’re going to need people like the kids who graduate from this school in the city’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood.

It’s good that the building now has a construction permit, considering that Mayor Rahm Emanuel participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for it more than three months ago.

The high school out standing in its field. (That joke never gets old. Via Apple Maps)

The high school out standing in its field. (That joke never gets old. Via Apple Maps)

The arena designed by River North’s Woodhouse Tinucci Architects will be 25-feet tall, with two rings inside.  But this is a working structure, so there won’t be any grandstands.  You’ll have to get your rodeo fix elsewhere.

The total cost of the project is about $1.1 million.  $100,000 of that came from the school winning an online contest sponsored by… wait for it… Farmers Insurance.  The rest came from internal cost-saving measures over several years, according to DNAInfo Chicago.

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Location: 3857 West 111th Street, Mount Greenwood


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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