Explained: What happened to Tevfik Arif and Bayrock Group?

Bayrock Group, which was established by Tevfik Arif, was one of the forces behind Trump SoHo in New York City.

The luxury real estate development firm Bayrock Group was founded by the Turkish-Kazakhstani businessman Tevfik Arif in 2001 in New York City.

Tevfik Arif and Bayrock Group
Bayrock Group, the Trump Organization and the Sapir Organization inaugurated Trump SoHo in 2008.

One of Bayrock Group’s first accomplishments was renovating the shopping center Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

Following several other successful real estate development projects, Tevfik Arif decided to change Bayrock Group’s strategy and work on more prestigious high-end ventures.

Along with the change of strategy came a change of address, as Bayrock Group moved into the 24th floor of the impressive Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan.

Here, Bayrock Group came into close proximity with the Trump Organization, which had its offices in the same building.

The two companies started negotiating and reached an agreement to launch a real estate development project together.

The construction that they were planning would be located on Spring Street in Manhattan and the first brick would be laid in 2006.

Tevfik Arif of Bayrock Group knew how powerful the Trump brand was. Therefore, his company presented a plan that would leverage the Trump name to add glamour and value to the project that Bayrock Group was developing with the Sapir Organization.

All three parties accepted Bayrock Group’s proposal, which would leave the Trump Organization with 18% equity in the building. In return, the construction would carry the Trump name in its title.

Bayrock Group partners with the Trump Organization

The building on Spring Street got the name Trump SoHo and opened its doors to the public in 2008.

Inside were 46 stories with floor-to-ceiling windows, enabling people to enjoy an unprecedented view of the New York City skyline.

Trump SoHo featured luxurious hotel rooms, apartments, premium restaurants and bars, a world-class spa, an outdoor pool, a banquet and event halls.

Bayrock Group hired high-end architects and designers to make sure that both the inside and the outside of Trump SoHo would be outstanding.

Handel Architects designed the building, while Bayrock Group imported the best materials and employed world-famous interior designers to decorate the inside.

Handel Architects is a New York City-based company recognized as a leader in the field of design and architecture and with experience from all over the world.

The firm’s portfolio includes the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. and the September 11th National Memorial in New York City.

The design and architecture company Rockwell Group was assigned to furnish Trump SoHo with pieces from the Italian brand Fendi Casa.

Like Handel Architects, Rockwell Group also has an impressive resume. The firm has had several luxury hotels, upscale restaurants and casinos as its clients.

Bayrock Group invested millions of dollars

Following the successful opening of Trump SoHo, Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization planned to cooperate on several more real estate developments under the same licensing terms in Arizona and Florida.

However, the plans were conceived at an unfortunate time, as the American real estate market was hit hard by the global financial crisis, hindering the intentions of Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization.

Because of a changing market in the United States, Tevfik Arif decided to leave the country and go back to Europe and Central Asia, where his business venture started.

While Bayrock Group was active in the United States, the company invested real estate assets valued at over $2.5 million. In recent years, Bayrock Group has not been involved in any real estate development projects in the United States.

Tevfik Arif goes back to Europe and Central Asia

Before Tevfik Arif made it to America and established Bayrock Group, he lived in Soviet Kazakhstan and Turkey.

He grew up in Soviet Kazakhstan as the son of parents of Turkish descent, and at an early age, he showed great interest in business and economics.

He pursued a degree in International Relations from the Moscow Trade and Economic Institute and subsequently worked for the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade.

Tevfik Arif was employed in the ministry’s Hotel Management Department, where he became deputy head.

After 17 years of working for the government, Tevfik Arif quit and started his own businesses. This happened at a time of privatization following the fall of the Soviet Union.

Tevfik Arif’s self-established companies centered on imports and exports, automobiles, food, luxury real estate developments and hotels.

His extensive knowledge in tourism and real estate that he had acquired during his studies and while working for the Soviet government came in handy for him, as he moved to Turkey in 1993 to embark on a new business venture.

Tevfik Arif opened the Labada luxury hotel in Antalya and quickly became a pioneering force behind the timeless all-inclusive resorts.

He enjoyed eight more years of great achievements in Europe and Central Asia before he went across the Atlantic to conquer the American market.

Currently, Tevfik Arif has retired from most of his daily activities in Bayrock Group, but he is still a highly valued advisor to the company.