Jim Karas, the Chicago-based fitness trainer to the stars as well as the author of three top-selling fitness books, will close on his purchase of a Gold Coast condo later this month.">
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Fitness Guru Jim Karas Buys on East Lake Shore Drive

List Price: $1.325 million
Sale Price: $1.225 million
The Property: Jim Karas, the Chicago-based fitness trainer to the stars as well as the author of three top-selling fitness books, will close on his purchase of a Gold Coast condo later this month.

List Price: $1.325 million
Sale Price: $1.225 million
The Property: Jim Karas, the Chicago-based fitness trainer to the stars as well as the author of three top-selling fitness books, will close on his purchase of a Gold Coast condo later this month. Things worked out well for Karas: he will pay about 56 percent of what the sellers were asking for the condo in 2008 and only 86 percent of what they paid for the place five years ago—and that was before they spent an unspecified additional amount of money renovating the home.

The 2,200-square-foot condo on the sixth floor of 219 E. Lake Shore Drive had been on the market since May 2008. I posted a video tour of the property later that summer, when the asking price was $2.25 million. The owners, a pair of retired doctors from Hyde Park, had put the condo on the market shortly after renovating and updating it because they had bought a larger residence elsewhere in the same building.

Karas liked how the renovation turned out. “I’m just moving right in and putting my art on the walls,” he said. Karas had been renting since the summer of 2005, when he sold a condo on North Michigan Avenue for $1.33 million.“I jumped out [of the for-sale real-estate market] at the absolute high,” he said, “and hopefully now I’m jumping back in at the absolute low.”

Karas has a Chicago training studio in Lake View, but he is better known for training such celebrities as Hugh Jackman and Diane Sawyer, and for his books, which include The 7-Day Energy Surge, released last week in paperback. Don Scott of the Karas studio coached Sherry Shepherd, a cohost of The View, through a 41-pound weight loss.

Karas told me he “couldn’t pass up” the Gold Coast condo because of its nice formal rooms, its excellent condition, and its views of Lake Shore Drive and Oak Street Beach. But there is one nearby amenity that he may not use very much: the lakefront jogging and cycling path, which passes along Oak Street Beach just across the road from his new home. Karas’s cardio-free plan advises people to cut down on or eliminate their running and biking; he says they wear the body out too much, and that strength-training is a better route to overall fitness. When I told him I was eager to get out for some cycling in last week’s glorious weather, he replied: “Just try not to ride along the lake during heavy traffic. You are inhaling an alarming amount of toxins.”

Price Points: The sale closes in mid-April, so it is still possible the final price on the condo will change. But at the contracted $1.225 million, Karas is paying about $556 a square foot. Looking at their original asking price, the sellers, Janet Burch and Joel Guillory, were hoping to get $1,022 a square foot, even though, as I reported at the time, the two most recent sales in the building had been for $691 per square foot and $824 per square foot. In January of this year, I reported a sale of one of the building’s higher-end units, which came out to about $760 a square foot, approximately in step with the building’s peak-years pricing.

Listing Agent: Penny Shaw of Koenig & Strey GMAC; 312-944-8900 or pshaw@ksgmac.com

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