PORTLAND -- Luxury condos on Portland s waterfront went up for auction Sunday, attracting thousands of potential buyers looking for major bargains.

A total of 50 condos from the John Ross building went on the auction block after they failed to sell in the normal real estate market.

The 31-story tower has floor-to-ceiling windows and is the largest condo structure ever built in Portland.

Marlene Stauffer was one of today s buyers. While some said she was taking a gamble, Stauffer said she has faith that the market downturn that s hit the waterfront over the past 2 years won t continue.

I think it s an up-and-coming place to live, she said. It s fun and it s only going to get better and I think it s a good value for the money.

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish agreed but pointed out that bargain pricing was not part of the original plan for the South Waterfront.

The downside is that the developers are getting hurt and some of the lenders are getting hurt. But this is a cycle, he said.

Fish believes it will take a while, but over the next few years, he expects Portland to climb out of this real estate hole.

For now, buyers got 20-percent discounts on average, at the auction.

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