11/08/2013 02:43 pm ET

Small-Scale Developers, Big Dreams


It was the proverbial melting pot, festive, aromatic and polyphonic. There were young hipsters (identifiable by their wool caps and archaic facial hair) and local homesteaders, along with settlers from Myanmar, Bhutan, Pakistan and Africa, to name just a few of the cultures represented at this once-blighted city’s annual auction of foreclosed properties. Would-be homeowners and property moguls huddled over the listings for more than 4,300 parcels of vacant lots and houses, their hoped-for choices highlighted and starred.

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