Bayrock Group opened Trump SoHo with the Trump Organization and the Sapir Organization in 2008.


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

Bayrock Group: The Rise of a New York Real Estate Giant


Bayrock Group opened Trump SoHo with the Trump Organization and the Sapir Organization in 2008. However, the story of Bayrock Group’s success starts in Kazakhstan decades before.

The story about the luxury real estate development firm Bayrock Group’s success in the United States begins long before the company’s establishment in 2001. Initially, the story begins on the other side of the globe.

Bayrock Group was founded by Tevfik Arif, who was brought into the world in Soviet Kazakhstan to a family of Turkish origin.

Tevfik Arif earned a degree in International Relations from the Moscow Trade and Economic Institute before joining the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade.

He stayed in the ministry for 17 years and then relinquished his position to establish several of his own businesses. Tevfik Arif’s firms were in the sectors of luxury real estate development, food and exports and imports, among other things.

Because of his many companies, Tevfik Arif acquired a wide array of worldwide partners. His network drove him to move to Turkey in 1993, where he became one of the spearheading powers behind the country’s famous all-inclusive hotel concept.

He, for instance, opened the Labada Hotel in Antalya before he went on to his next business venture across the Atlantic several years later.

Bayrock Group becomes increasingly ambitious

Tevfik Arif moved to the United States in 2001 to explore new business paths and to be closer to the American part of his family.

Just after moving, he established the luxury real estate development firm Bayrock Group in New York City.

In the beginning, Bayrock Group executed small to medium-sized projects in and around New York. The company, for instance, revamped the shopping center Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza in the Sheepshead area of Brooklyn.

Bayrock Group was off to a good start, and it made Tevfik Arif increasingly ambitious. He longed for bigger projects and decided to change the company’s strategy to focus on that.

Bayrock Group moved its New York City offices to the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue to accompany the change in strategy.

The move ended up yielding substantially more than another location, as it got the company in the vicinity of the Trump Organization. The world-renowned family organization namely resided in the same building.

Trump SoHo takes shape

Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization shared the vision of building luxury real estate projects, so the two companies decided to join forces.

Bayrock Group was already working on another undertaking on Spring Street in Manhattan’s SoHo quarter with the Sapir Organization.

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Tevfik Arif knew that the inclusion of the Trump Organization to that project would add brand recognition to the building that Bayrock Group and the Sapir Organization lacked.

Arif drafted an agreement granting the Trump Organization 18% equity in the building in exchange for the use of the Trump brand in its name.

Bayrock Group, the Trump Organization and the Sapir Organization all agreed to the proposed deal.

That paved the way for the first brick of what would become Trump SoHo to be laid in 2006.

After two years of work, the building was ready for its inauguration.

Design veterans lead the construction of Trump SoHo

When it opened, Trump SoHo consisted of apartments, hotel rooms, luxury eateries and bars, a pool, a spa, banquet, and event halls. Hotel guests enjoyed unparalleled views of New York City through the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows.

Handel Architects was tasked with designing the building. The architecture firm had recently designed the renowned National September 11th Memorial & Museum in New York City and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Bayrock Group employed Rockwell Group to take care of the interior design of the building.

Rockwell Group has, for instance, designed the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, the Seven Deadly Sins Theater in New York and the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas.

The firm also has international experience from countries such as Indonesia, Mexico and Spain.

Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization expand partnership

The Trump Organization and the Bayrock Group sought to expand their partnership following the opening of Trump SoHo.

Their dream was to construct buildings similar to Trump SoHo in Florida and Arizona. Also under the same licensing terms, leaving the Trump Organization with 18% equity in the building. It would again pave the way for “Trump” being part of the construction’s name.

Despite the two companies’ ambitions, the structures were never built because of the 2008 global financial crisis.

The crisis especially hit the American real estate market and, therefore, forced Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization to abandon their plans.

The financial crisis ended up changing the American real estate market to such an extent that Tevfik Arif decided to leave his United States undertakings. He opted to return to Europe and Central Asia.

There, he continued working in the private sector.

Tevfik Arif has resigned from the majority of his daily responsibilities at Bayrock Group today. However, he is still a trusted consultant to the company.

Bayrock Group has not been involved in any American real estate projects lately, but when it was active, the firm invested real estate assets worth $2.5 million in the United States.