The Archdiocese of Chicago sold its Kenwood mansion for nearly $1 million below its original asking price, at a time when the church is drastically downsizing and as the housing market continues to see growing demand.
The 11,000-square-foot Greenwood Avenue mansion sold for $1.57 million, according to Crain’s. That was a deep discount from its $2.35 million price tag from two years ago.
Built in 1889, the three-story, red-brick home was originally built for D.F. Bremner, founder of the Bremner Biscuit Co. and an integral force in the rebuilding of Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871.
Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama live on the same block, according to the report.
Beginning in 1966, the six-bedroom home was the Chicago base for the Catholic Church’s Focolare Movement, whose stated mission is to foster unity among religious and nonreligious people.
The buyers are expected to remodel the home and a five-bedroom coach house that sits on the more than half-acre property, according to the report.
The sale is part of a sweeping downsizing in the Chicago Archdiocese, which has been underway since 2018. Dozens of churches and schools have been closed or merged as the church deals with extreme financial challenges. There has even been talk of selling the cardinal’s Gold Coast mansion. Much is tied to declining enrollments at schools and falling numbers of Mass participants – leading to flat Sunday collection plates. But the church is still dealing with hefty sex abuse settlement costs and higher pensions as it forces many older priests to retire.
[Crain’s] — Jennifer Waters