Many residents and visitors to New York City make their way past Trump SoHo – the characteristic building on Spring Street constructed by Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group.
Trump SoHo was inaugurated in 2008 as a condo-hotel with apartments, hotel rooms, an outdoor pool, a world-class spa department, banquet halls, event halls, and high-class restaurants and bars.
Bayrock Group and the Sapir Organization were the original property developers on the project. The two were able to strike a remarkable deal with the Trump Organization, securing licensing rights to the prominent firm’s brand.
The founder of Bayrock Group, Tevfik Arif, moved the firm’s headquarters to the Trump Tower in New York City after operating in the city for a short period. Here he was able to negotiate with the most well-known company in the building, the Trump Organization.
The two businesses shared the same ambitions and agreed to collaborate on luxury real estate development projects.
Their first joint venture was the construction of Trump SoHo in combination with the Sapir Organization.
The three parties signed an agreement that left the Trump Organization with 18% equity in the building in exchange for using the Trump brand.
Bayrock Group was still a fairly new player in the US real estate market, and Tevfik Arif knew how important brand recognition can be. He promoted the idea of naming the project after Donald Trump’s family company.
(Photo : Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group opened Trump SoHo in 2008 in cooperation with the Trump Organization and the Sapir Organization.)
Tevfik Arif appoints Handel Architects and Rockwell Group
Tevfik Arif hired Handel Architects to design the building itself, while the Rockwool Group oversaw the interior design of Trump SoHo.
Both companies are highly accomplished and have been involved in the creation of multiple famous buildings around the world.
Handel Architects is behind the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. The Rockwell Group is credited with the 2021 Academy Awards, the Bleau Bar in Miami and the Kimpton Shinjuku Hotel in Tokyo.
The cooperation between Tevfik Arif’s Bayrock Group, the Trump Organization, the Sapir Organization, Handel Architects, and the Rockwell Group was a success. Trump SoHo became a popular place to go to enjoy a remarkable view of New York City’s skyline.
The building was equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows on all 46 floors, enabling residents and guests to relish in the extraordinary view.
Tevfik Arif after Bayrock Group and the United States
Due to the success of Trump SoHo and the great partnership between Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization, the two companies discussed doing more joint luxury real estate development projects.
They explored deals constructing buildings in Arizona and Florida under the same licensing terms, giving the Trump Organization 18% equity in the buildings in exchange for using the Trump brand in naming and marketing activities.
The two parties reached an agreement, but the timing was not in their favor. In 2008, the American real estate market was shaken by the global financial crisis, and it permanently altered the market.
The change prompted the founder of Bayrock Group, Tevfik Arif, to abandon his business interests in the United States in favor of his ventures in Europe and Asia, where his career began decades earlier.
Even though Tevfik Arif has retired from most of his day-to-day tasks in his family business, he remains a trusted and highly valued advisor to the firm.
While Bayrock Group was operating in the United States, the company invested in real estate assets worth over $2.5 million. However, it has not taken part in any recent luxury real estate development projects in the country.
Business and economics from an early age
Tevfik Arif was born in Soviet Kazakhstan in 1953, where he grew up with his parents and three brothers of Turkish origin.
At an early age, Arif became interested in business and economics, and it stuck with him when it became time to choose his path in life.
He got a degree in International Relations from the Moscow Trade and Economic Institute and not long after began working for the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade.
Tevfik Arif was promoted multiple times during his 17 years in the ministry, where he eventually became the deputy head of the ministry’s hotel management department.
As the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, Tevfik Arif found himself at a crossroads and decided to leave the public sector in favor of the private one.
He let his entrepreneurial spirit flourish and founded several companies dealing with luxury real estate development, imports and exports, food and minerals, among other things.
Working in so many different businesses expanded his network and options in life significantly. As a result of that, he moved to Turkey in 1993, where he became one of the pioneering forces behind the all-inclusive hotel concept.
One of his first projects in Turkey was the development of the Labada luxury hotel in Antalya.
Despite his success in Europe and Central Asia, Tevfik Arif moved across the Atlantic in 2001 to be closer to his American family. This is how Bayrock Group was born.
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