The Sterling, at 345 N. LaSalle in Chicago

List Price: $899,000
Sale Price: $885,000
The Property: In 2001, when Nicholas V. Gouletas was an executive with the family-owned firm that built the Sterling at 345 North LaSalle Drive, he posed for a publicity photo slicing into a five-foot-tall cake in the shape of the 50-story building. More recently, he did some cutting of a different kind, slashing the price on his 2,700-square-foot, 47th-floor condo in the same building until it sold at 36 percent of his mortgage on the space.

Cook County Recorder of Deeds files show that in 2003, Gouletas bought two adjacent 47th-floor units—one for $445,000, the other for $582,000; the total was $1.027 million—from American Invsco, the firm that his father, Nicholas S. Gouletas, launched in the 1960s and built into one of the nation’s biggest condo developers. At the time, the younger Nicholas Gouletas was part of the firm’s management team; he left in 2004 to start his own firm, NVG Residential.

Sharon Rizzo, who represented Gouletas in the July 15th short sale, says the two condos were combined into one “extremely upgraded” two-bedroom that had, among other lavish features, “a master bathroom big enough to play baseball in, and a shower that you could have 15 people in.” There are floor-to-ceiling windows with west, south, and partial east views; inlaid limestone floors; and an outdoor terrace of about 900 square feet that is wired for both gas and water—the only unit in the building with its own outdoor gas line.

While he never moved into the condo, in 2006 Gouletas took out a $2.45 million mortgage on it, according to county property records. The Sterling’s homeowner’s association filed a lien against Gouletas in late 2008; that’s usually a sign that the homeowner was not paying assessments. In early 2009, JP Morgan Chase bank filed a notice that it was starting foreclosure.
In 2008, Gouletas’s NVG handed a big Milwaukee project back to its lenders. I could not reach Gouletas or NVG for comment; three phone numbers listed for him and one for the firm are all out of service.

This is by far not the first distressed sale at the Sterling; in 2008, Crain’s Chicago Business declared the building “the condo foreclosure capital of Chicago.”

Price Points: Rizzo says that the property was first put on the market several years ago at about $2.4 million and at some point had a $2 million offer that the seller rejected. Later, it was marked down to $999,000, before ultimately coming down to $899,000—or 87 percent of what Gouletas had paid for the condo. It’s not clear whether the cost of finishing the space was part of the purchase price or additional. Ronnie Colletti, the agent for the buyers (who are not yet identified in public records), says her client first put in a successful offer in December 2009, but the vicissitudes of short sales delayed closing the sale until July 15th. “But it was worth the wait for that price,” she told me. “My buyers and I feel like they got a really good deal for a unique, very upgraded unit.”

Listing Agent: Sharon Rizzo of Koenig & Strey Real Living, 773-360-3700;