NEW YORK -- Arthur Emil never envisioned traveling all the way to Japan to sell some of the 54 luxury condominiums he developed in lower Manhattan.
He was more than a little skeptical when Japan's Fujisankei Communications Group approached him about featuring one of the units on a home-shopping broadcast that would air in Tokyo, Osaka and nine other cities in late January.
A Fujisankei representative explained that the communications giant's satellite shopping network "markets high-ticket items," Emil said. "They said they sold a chateau in France."
And what could be more high-class than his condos, which range in price from $500,000 to $1.7 million and feature such amenities as sub-zero refrigerators in the gourmet kitchens, 17-foot ceilings and a 24-hour concierge, in addition to the doorman.
Emil had a hard time with the notion that someone would buy an apartment without "physically visiting the property," although he said it does happen from time to time.
But Fujisankei promised, after a single broadcast, to present him with 20 to 25 qualified buyers. "I'm assuming these are real buyers," he said shortly before leaving for Japan in early February.
But 16,000 miles and one week later, Emil was a believer. "You can sell apartments in the United States by television in Japan," he exclaimed. While Emil said Fujisankei introduced him to fewer qualified buyers than promised, he was still pleased.
None of the investors signed on the dotted line, but Emil said several are coming to New York to see the landmark building in the near future, and he's confident he'll close on more than one deal. Emil described the buyers as wealthy executives who do business in and around New York and were attracted by the building's luxury qualities.