ChicagoDowntown / Loop

The Bernardin apartments, 747 N Wabash Ave, River North

by Joe Zekas on 10/11/13

The Bernardin, 747 N Wabash Ave, is a 25-story, 171-unit boutique apartment tower in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The property also includes 201 parking spaces and 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space. The Bernardin is named after Joseph Bernardin, a Catholic Cardinal who served as Archbishop of Chicago.

The Bernardin was completed in 2005. McCaffery Interests was the developer. W.E. O’Neil Construction was the general contractor and Antunovich Associates was the architect.

The apartments

The Bernardin’s 171 apartments include 19 different studio, 1-, 1-bedroom plus den and 2-bedroom floor plans. In October 2013 studios started at $1,836, one-bedrooms at $2,670 and 2-bedroom, 2-baths at $3,285. A penthouse-level unit was available at $5,670 a month.

Floor plans and a near real-time availability check are accessible online.

All but one of the 19 floor plans includes a balcony. Penthouse units have private terraces.

The units are all-electric and lack the hardwood floors and high ceilings that have become standard in the newer buildings, and have finishes that are subpar compared to the newer buildings. Apartments do have in-unit washers and dryers, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Ranges are electric.

Short-term furnished rentals in the building are available from VIP Corporate Housing.

Views. The Bernardin is not a view building. Apartments enjoy unbroken views to the west, but view corridors in other directions are obstructed by neighboring buildings.

Amenities, services, policies

The amenities at The Bernardin have recently undergone a makeover and expansion.

The lobby lounge sets the tone for the building and conveys the feeling that you’ve entered a private club.

Off the lobby is a high-ceilinged business center that had previously been retail space. It’s furnished and decorated unlike any business center I’ve seen.

The Bernardin’s fitness center has been revamped and expanded into two rooms, one for cardio equipment and the other focused on strength training.

The pool was closed for the winter at the time of my visit and the hot tub was filling with leaves, but I was able to note that the lap pool is of a nice size and there’s a landscaped area for grilling centered on a fire pit.


The highlight of the amenities is a new “Sky Club” that was added on what had been an unused rooftop. There’s a wraparound outside terrace that serves up spectacular views.


Inside, the large room is separated into two by a see-through fireplace. One side has intimate seating areas and a subtle water wall feature. The other half of the room has a large bar, a full catering kitchen and a pool table. Residents can reserve the Sky Club for private parties.

The Bernardin has a furnished guest suite to accommodate overnight visitors.

Residents have access to storage lockers and bike storage. There are 201 parking spaces in the attached five-level garage.

The Bernardin has on-site management, maintenance and leasing staff and 24/7 door staff. The building is pet-friendly, subject to limits.

The location

The Bernardin’s website boasts of a Gold Coast location. It’s not in the Gold Coast as defined by YoChicago or, more narrowly, by the Gold Coast Neighbors Association. It’s within a few minutes’ walk of the Gold Coast, in a part of River North that some refer to as the Cathedral District.

The Bernardin’s location is prime: vividly urban, pedestrian-friendly, architecturally varied and very attractive. The location is a major draw for tourists, which has its pluses and minuses.

Walk Score gives the location a “Walker’s Paradise” rating of 97 and a “Rider’s Paradise” transit score of 93.

Loyola University’s Water Tower campus is a block north and east of the property. Northwestern and Lurie Children’s hospitals are a short walk further east.

Shopping. Whole Foods is two blocks from The Bernardin. There’s a locally-owned Potash Markets a few blocks north on State St, around the corner from a Goddess and Grocer deli.

A number of convenience stores are nearby and Jewel, Plum Market and a new Target are not far away, as are a number of Walgreens and CVS pharmacies.


Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile shops, Water Tower Place and Neiman Marcus are two short blocks east, and The Shops at North Bridge, anchored by Nordstrom, are a few blocks south.


Oak Street boutiques are a few blocks to the north.

Dining, nightlife. Step outside The Bernardin and scan from left to right. You’ll see McDonald’s golden arches, Chik-fil-A, a Starbucks and Jimmy Johns across the street, the Ralph Lauren restaurant and, in the building, Devon Seafood Grill.

Walk in any direction and you’ll quickly encounter outdoor cafés and a nearly endless selection of restaurant and nightlife.


One of the densest, most interesting restaurant and nightlife clusters in Chicago – what some call the Viagra Triangle – is a few minutes’ walk to the north.

Parks, recreation.
The popular Oak Street Beach is within easy walking distance of The Bernardin.

Lake Shore Park, which has a running track, softball fields, tennis courts, a playground and a small field house, is a few blocks east of the building.

Transportation. Public transportation is terrific at this location. The CTA Red Line stop at Chicago Ave is a short block west of The Bernardin.

A variety of CTA bus routes traverse State St, Michigan Ave and Chicago Ave, steps from the property.

The location has relatively quick access to I-90/94 and the city’s expressway grid via the Ontario St / Ohio St on / off ramps. Lake Shore Drive is nearby.

Zipcar and I-Go cars are nearby. Taxi service is continually available 24/7.

The competition

The Bernardin’s most direct competitor is a block east at The Chicagoan. The building competes to a lesser extent with Grand Plaza, the new AMLI River North and One Superior Place.

Rentals are typically available in a number of nearby condo buildings, sometimes at sharply lower rents than in the managed apartment buildings.

You’ll find additional tips and options at YoChicago’s Guide to renting in River North and our at-a-glance list of Near North apartments.

The Bernardin in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • The Bernardin tops downtown rent raises
  • European charm at a Chicago apartment tower
  • Share your take on The Bernardin

    If you’ve lived at or visited The Bernardin, and are not a real estate agent, add your thoughts in a comment. Comments are moderated, and commercial messages are not allowed.

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