A Rogers Park condo that said "Check, please"

Six and a half years ago we were reporting at length on a condo boom and a lagging retail scene in Rogers Park. Our story led and ended with an enthusiastic buyer:

Alpana Singh is a star of Chicago's fine dining scene, with a string of accomplishments including a TV show, an upcoming book and the distinction of being one of the youngest master sommeliers in the world, but at the moment, she's perhaps most excited about her new condo in Rogers Park.

The star of the WTTW program Check Please! has lived in the South Loop and in Wrigleyville, but when she and fiancé, writer Charles Blackstone, saw what $379,000 could buy in East Rogers Park, they knew it was time for a change.

They found a neighborhood on the lake with a lively arts scene, and café culture – and a new two-bedroom condo with granite counters and a steam shower that they could afford. A similar home would cost significantly more in Lake View or Lincoln Park.

"I'm not about coming in here and making a quick buck and then just kind of going, 'Oh thanks,'" Singh says. "I want to get involved as much as possible. I get this feeling that if you are a Rogers Park resident you should get involved in the area. That's the spirit of the community."

As you might suspect, Singh's expectations of not making a quick buck were met. Her condo, at 1543 W Sherwin, was listed as a short sale at $318,000 in September of 2009 and sold more than a year later for $205,000.

Was a smiling title company employee heard saying "Check, please" at the closing?

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