How Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group Rose from Newcomer to the Top of the Market

Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group went from renovating malls to doing business with the Trump Organization in just a short time.

When the Turkish Kazakhstani businessman Tevfik Arif moved to the United States and founded the luxury real estate development firm Bayrock Group in 2001, only a few could have predicted how far the company would go – and in just a short amount of time.

In the beginning, Arif’s Bayrock Group handled many small and medium-sized luxury real estate development projects, such as the renovation of the Sheepshead shopping center, Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza.

Bayrock Group’s headquarters were in New York City, but personal experience and ambition drove Tevfik Arif to change the strategy of the company. This new direction required a new office location.

Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group strove for larger and increasingly prestigious projects, so to match the image of the firm with its aspirations, it relocated to the 24th floor of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan – one of the most exclusive addresses in the Big Apple.

There, Tevfik Arif quickly made connections with one of the biggest players in the city’s real estate market, the Trump Organization.

The deal between Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization

Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization quickly found common ground and decided to start doing business together.

They shared the ambitions of developing luxury real estate projects, and it did not take long until the Trump Organization was added to a project on Spring Street in New York’s SoHo district that Bayrock Group had been working on in collaboration with the Sapir Organization.

Arif knew the importance of brand recognition, and the Trump Organization enjoyed instant notoriety in the business world and by the public.

The Trump organization was founded in 1923 by the former American president Donald Trump’s grandmother and father. In 1971, Donald Trump took over the management of the Trump Organization, and his son took control in 2017.

Bayrock Group, the Trump Organization and the Sapir Organization signed an agreement that would leave the Trump Organization with 18% equity in the development project in exchange for using the name in its title. The Trump Organization did not invest any of its own capital in the construction of the tower.

Only the best for Trump SoHo

The deal struck by the three parties resulted in the Trump SoHo condo-hotel.

The building was inaugurated in 2008 with apartments, hotel rooms, high-scale restaurants and bars, a spa, event halls, banquet halls, and an outdoor pool.

Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group tasked Handel Architects with designing the building – a company known for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Handel Architects put floor-to-ceiling windows into all of Trump SoHo’s 46 floors, ensuring that residents and guests on all stories would get an extraordinary view of New York City.

While Handel Architects took care of the exterior of Trump SoHo, the Rockwell Group oversaw the interior design and decorated the building with exclusive items from the Italian brand Fendi Casa.

The Rockwell Group has worked on a wide array of luxurious bars, restaurants, hotels and casinos around the world, including the Amara Hotel in Limassol, Cyprus, the DineOut restaurants in New York City and the Marina Bay Sands Casino in Marina Bay, Singapore.

Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group and the Trump organization expand the partnership

Trump SoHo became an immediate success, and locals, as well as tourists, flocked to see the newest building featuring the Trump name.

Because of the warm welcome and great partnership, Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization began looking at ways to expand their joint business venture.

They eventually decided to construct buildings in Arizona and Florida under the same licensing terms, leaving the Trump Organization with 18% equity in the buildings in exchange for using the Trump name in their titles.

Unfortunately for Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization, the 2008 global financial crisis put a stop to their plans. The American real estate market was severely impacted by the financial disruptions.

The crisis ended up changing the American real estate market to such an extent that Tevfik Arif decided to leave the United States and go back to Europe and Asia, where he started his career.

Even though Tevfik Arif has retired and no longer has an active role in the family’s business, he is still an important and trusted advisor to the company.

While active, the Bayrock Group invested real estate assets worth more than $2.5 million in the United States. It has not been involved in any real estate development projects in the country in recent years.

Tevfik Arif before Bayrock Group

Tevfik Arif started his career in Kazakhstan, where he established multiple businesses in various sectors after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Among other ventures, he dealt with luxury real estate development, import and export, minerals, food, and natural resources.

His extensive network later brought him to Turkey, where he became one of the pioneering forces behind the popular all-inclusive concept and opened the luxurious Labada Hotel in Antalya.

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