CHICAGO – Nicholas Gouletas, a well-known in real estate as a condominium developer in Chicago, passed away on January 8 at the age of 82, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
His son Steven Gouletas told the Sun-Times that “his father, who had been in assisted living, had congestive heart failure and sepsis,” adding that the late Gouletas “had tested positive for COVID-19 but recovered after having only mild symptoms and had received a vaccine.”
“He just loved doing deals,” Steven Gouletas told the Sun-Times. “He would rather do deals than take a vacation.”
The late Gouletas “led condo conversions at more than 140 properties, according to his son Steven,” the Sun-Times reported, noting that “it was a body of work concentrated in Chicago, where his conversions included Lake Point Tower, River City, and 111 East Chestnut Street.”
Gouletas “really was the major condo converter back in the ’70s,” Gail Lissner, managing director at Integra Realty Resources, who worked with him over the years, told the Sun-Times, adding that “he was a kind and generous gentleman and just a super salesman.”
Gouletas immigrated to the United States from Greece at age 8 with his family after World War II, the Sun-Times reported, noting that “his father had been a builder in Athens.”
“Building is in our blood,” the late Gouletas had said in a past interview, the Sun-Times reported, “the first thing my parents did when we came over from Greece was save a few bucks and purchase our initial home – a $7,000 two-flat in Chicago.”
As a youngster, Gouletas sold “ice cream from a pushcart at Lakeview and Fullerton Avenues,” the Sun-Times reported, adding that “he used to say he found a four-leaf clover there.”
Before beginning his career in real estate, Gouletas “sold Collier’s encyclopedias,” the Sun-Times reported, noting that “his deal for the landmark Lake Point Tower also was a career milestone,” and “in 1989, he proudly recounted the sales figure to the Sun-Times, ‘We have $87,966,648. That’s $87,966,648 CIF.’ What’s CIF, he was asked. ‘Cash in Fist.’”
Gouletas’ career was also tempered by the ups and downs of the condo market, and as his son, Steven, told the Sun-Times, “From my perspective, he wasn’t suited for being in business the last few years. But he loved it, and he didn’t want to give it up.”
He added that his father “loved his large Greek family and always showed deep respect for individuals,” the Sun-Times reported, noting that “Steven Gouletas recalled his father getting pushback from a project manager on a condo conversion in the Atlanta area when a Black friend from his encyclopedia sales days wanted to move in.”
When he was “told others would move out, Mr. Gouletas said, ‘Then empty the building,’” the Sun-Times reported, adding that, according to Steven Gouletas, the “friend was Maynard Jackson, who became the first Black mayor of Atlanta.”
Gouletas attended Wright College, “supported the Center for Excellence in Education, where he created an endowment and served on its board,” and “was elected to the Chicago Association of Realtors Hall of Fame in 1996,” the Sun-Times reported, noting that “his professional affiliations included Lambda Alpha International, an honorary organization within the Urban Land Institute.” Gouletas was also a board member and supporter of the Greek Orthodox Church.
He is survived by his second wife, Natel Matschulat Gouletas, five children, and 12 grandchildren. His first wife, Eunice, passed away in 2017.
The funeral service was livestreamed on Facebook on January 13 from St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago.
May his memory be eternal.