Bayrock Group: From Mid-Scale Projects to Partnering with Trump

The Bayrock Group went from mid-sized projects to working on one of New York City’s most famous buildings with the Trump Organization.

When the Bayrock Group was established in 2001 in New York City, no one could predict the bright future that the company had ahead of it.

The Bayrock Group is a luxury real estate development firm founded by the Turkish-Kazakhstani businessman, Tevfik Arif.

To begin with, the Bayrock Group took on small to medium-sized projects such as the renovation of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza, a mall in the Sheepshead area of Brooklyn, New York.

In the following years, the luxury real estate development company continued to do small to medium-sized projects, but as the firm felt like it had gained a foothold in the American market, it grew increasingly ambitious.

The Bayrock Group decided to start focusing on larger projects, and it moved its New York City headquarters to the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, one of the most exclusive addresses in the city.

There, the Arif-driven company got close to the most renowned tenant of the building, the Trump Organization.

The Bayrock Group’s golden opportunity

The Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization negotiated to begin working on luxury real estate developments, and eventually, the Trump Organization ended up joining a project on Spring Street in Manhattan that the Bayrock Group had been working on with the Sapir Organization.

The Bayrock Group saw a golden opportunity with the Trump Organization and drafted a plan that would leave the Trump Organization with 18% equity in the building in exchange for using the Trump brand in the name of the construction.

The Bayrock Group acknowledged that the Trump Organization was a world-renowned, successful company with significant brand recognition and saw that as a way to add some glamour to the project on Spring Street.

All three parties agreed to the proposed deal, and in 2006, the first brick of what would become Trump SoHo was laid.

The best of the best for Trump SoHo

In 2008, Trump SoHo was inaugurated and was ready to welcome the public into its 46 floors of luxury.

The building featured hotel rooms, apartments, high-class restaurants and bars, an outdoor pool, banquet halls, event halls, and a spa department.

To top it all off, all floors of Trump SoHo had floor-to-ceiling windows, enabling residents and guests to enjoy an unprecedented view of the Big Apple.

To make sure that every little detail of Trump SoHo would be top-notch, the Bayrock Group, the Trump Organization and the Sapir Organization hired Handel Architects and the Rockwell Group to design both the exterior and interior of the building.

Handel Architects, which is the company behind the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington D.C. and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, was tasked with designing the building itself, while Rockwell Group was in charge of the interior design.

The Rockwell Group has designed a large number of luxury hotels, restaurants and casinos all over the world, including the Palms Fantasy Suites hotel in Las Vegas, the Moxy Times Square restaurant in New York City, and the Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore.

The Rockwell Group made sure that Trump SoHo was furnished with items from the Italian brand Fendi Casa.

The Bayrock Group and the Trump Organizations plans in Arizona and Florida

Trump SoHo became an immediate success, and it whetted the appetite of the Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization. They wanted to cooperate on additional real estate development projects and started planning two buildings in Arizona and Florida.

These two constructions would be executed under the same licensing terms as Trump SoHo, leaving the Trump Organization with 18% equity in each building.

Despite the efforts, the Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization never got the chance to actualize their plans because of unfortunate timing.

Immediately after opening Trump SoHo, the two companies started working on the idea of buildings in Arizona and Florida, but the 2008 financial crisis put a stop to those plans.

The American real estate market was severely hit by the crisis, which ended up changing the market to such an extent that the Bayrock Group’s founder, Tevfik Arif, decided to move back to Europe and Central Asia where he had previously been doing business.

Tevfik Arif before the Bayrock Group

While the Bayrock Group was active in the United States, the firm invested in real estate assets worth over $2.5 million. However, the company has not been part of any business ventures in the United States in recent years.

Today, Tevfik Arif has retired from most of his day-to-day assignments in the Bayrock Group, but he is still a valued and trusted advisor to the company.

Before founding the Bayrock Group in New York City, Tevfik Arif was a successful businessman in countries such as Kazakhstan and Turkey.

One of the biggest proofs of this is that he ran his own businesses in the sectors of luxury real estate development, food, minerals, imports, exports, and natural resources in Kazakhstan and moved to Turkey in 1993, where a new adventure awaited him.

There, he became a pioneering force behind the all-inclusive hotel concept and opened the Labada hotel in Antalya before setting his sights on Europe and subsequently the United States.