Pune, November 21 (New York Times): It is a daunting proposition to put US$2 million apartments on the market in Pune — a quiet industrial city in the west of India, where even the fanciest neighborhoods are lined with squat housing blocks.
But the developers of Trump Towers Pune, an elegant pair of 23-story black-glass pillars, have an extraordinary new marketing tool they are moving quickly to exploit: the President-elect of the United States.
Since Donald J. Trump won the presidency, they have celebrated the growth that Mr. Trump’s win could bring to their brand, even flying to new York last week to meet with the President-elect and his family as he was assembling his cabinet.
“We will see a tremendous jump in valuation in terms of the second tower,” said Pranav R. Bhakta, a consultant who helped Mr. Trump’s organization make inroads into the Indian market five years ago.
“To say, ‘I have a Trump flat or residence’ — it’s President-elect branded. It’s that recall value. If they didn’t know Trump before, they definitely know him now.”
In just under nine weeks, Mr. Trump will take control of a portfolio of public business between the United States and India, the world’s two largest democracies, supervising debates over issues including climate change, maritime shadowboxing with China and the nuclear standoff with Pakistan.
The meeting, illustrated with a photograph of the beaming real estate executives — Atul Chordia,Sagar Chodia and Kalpesh Mehta – flanking the future President, and indicated that the builders and Mr. Trump’s organization are planning further collaborative real estate projects.
Sagar Chordia confirmed to The New York Times on Sunday that this account of the meeting in New York — which included discussions with the Trump family about possible additional real estate deals — was accurate.
A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization did not dispute this account — saying only that the encounter with Mr. Trump himself was brief.
“We have identified a piece of land and spoken to them,” Sagar Chordia told Business Standard , a daily newspaper in India.
Sagar Chordia, who posted photos of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat on social media during the Presidential campaign, did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Times.
Three prominent ethics lawyers said in interviews on Sunday that the interaction between Mr. Trump and his business partners from India does not appear to violate federal laws or ethics rules, nor would it even if he had already been sworn in.
This is in part because the President, unlike members of Congress and most other federal employees, is exempt from such requirements.
(The featured picture at the top is that of Sagar Chordia of Trump Towers Pune)