The Bernardin in Chicago

Photo of The Bernardin in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Bernardin in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of The Bernardin in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

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The Bernardin

747 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, Near North Side 60611
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Though the pre-construction advertisements promised this would be a “distinctive” building, it is not. At least on the outside. It is very reminiscent of a dozen other Near North Side apartment blocks with its beige shaft rising from a base which contains a mix of retail, and a parking garage topped with a sun deck. Though the building promotes itself as a “boutique” apartment block, that usually implies high-style and low-profile. Unfortunately, this building drew some unwanted attention early on. It is named for Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, the late Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He died of cancer several years before this building was erected. At first, hackles were raised because it was thought the developer did not ask the diocese for permission to use Bardardin’s name. And the building’s proximity to Holy Name Cathedral only drew more attention to the commercialization of a man who won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That said, it would be incorrect to argue that the Catholic Church doesn’t capitalize on deceased religious leaders. But it later turned out that the developer, a devoted Catholic, did consult someone in the diocese, and that person got approval from the late Cardinal’s sister, forcing the diocese to back down from its previous posture.

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