NYC Street
(Photo : licensed)

Tevfik Arif, sometimes called Tofik Arifov, is a real estate developer and founder of Bayrock Group. In 2001, the Kazakh-born businessman established the real estate development company in the United States. But this was not Arif's first venture in business or in the real estate sector.  As an entrepreneur, Arif has built an enterprise that transcends international border and industry sectors.

A highlight of Bayrock Group's work in real estate includes development projects that resulted from a professional and functional working relationship with the Trump Organization.

Trump SoHo Tower: Luxury meets modern architecture

After Bayrock Group set up its offices in Trump Tower in the early 2000s, a business partnership soon developed with the Trump Organization. The most notable project of their joint venture was the development of Trump SoHo in the heart of Manhattan's trendy SoHo district. The hotel-condominium complex rises high above the neighborhood and is an exemplary representation of modern architecture. Tevfik Arif developed and built Trump SoHo as a premier luxury hotel complex, which attracted several international investors.

The building was designed by Handel Architects, a prominent New York City firm that has offices around the world. The firm is famous for having designed the September 11th National Memorial in Manhattan.

Bayrock Group and Tevfik Arif chose Handel Architects to design Trump SoHo because of their outstanding reputation and experience in designing luxury hotels. Bayrock Group did not hold back in any of the complex's design elements. The best materials were imported from around the world and world-class designers, including the famous Rockwell Group and Fendi Casa, were assembled to ensure the interior of the building matched the appeal of the exterior.

Arif's Early Days

Tevfik Arif was the second child of four boys born to Turkish parents in 1953. Throughout his youth, Arif maintained a continual interest in business and economics. He studied at the Moscow Institute of Trade and Economics where he completed a degree in International Relations.

Upon graduation, he took a job working for the government of the Soviet Union. He served in the Ministry of Commerce and Trade for 17 years, where he held numerous positions including as Chief Economist. During his tenure in the government, Arif rose to the position of deputy head of the Hotel Management Department, a division within the ministry. Arif worked closely with the hospitality industry across the Soviet Union, which would later influence his desire to build luxury hotel properties around the world.

During the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Arif left his job with the government to pursue opportunities in the private sector. Arif's first business venture was the acquisition of ownership in a chromium plant in Kazakhstan with his brother. The economy of the Soviet Union and its former states were going through an economic transition of privatization.

A renewal of industry was just beginning and, though slow at first, the former-Soviet states were beginning to institute reforms that would lead to enormous growth and expansion. Much of this development was based on the vast oil, mining and natural resource industries that provided a solid foundation for these emerging economies.

Arif developed further interests in the national resources industry with the founding of the Specialty Chemicals Trading Company whose primary focus was on importing and exporting metals and other raw materials. After achieving success in the heavy metals and minerals industries, Arif once again turned to his passion for real estate investment and property development. His first real estate and development projects were concentrated in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkey where his company built luxury hotels.

After establishing himself as an accomplished real estate investor and entrepreneur, Arif turned his interests to the more challenging and competitive United States real estate market.

Arif founded Bayrock Group in New York in 2001 in order to begin investing in property in the United States. The first project undertaken by the newly formed Bayrock Group was the redevelopment of the Loehmann's Seaport Plaza in the Sheepshead Bay District of Brooklyn.

After finding early success, Arif began to set his sights on more prestigious deals and competitive real estate markets in the city. In order to do so, Bayrock moved its company offices to Trump Tower in the heart of Manhattan.

Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization

Tevfik Arif began working with Donald Trump shortly after Bayrock established its office in Trump Tower. The first project between Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization was the signing of a licensing deal to build Trump SoHo, a luxury hotel-condominium project in the neighborhood of Manhattan.

The project, which Bayrock partnered with the Sapir Organization to develop, was announced on an episode of Trump's popular TV program, The Apprentice. With the Trump name licensed, and the complex was branded the Trump SoHo Tower. Bayrock and the Sapir Organization planned, developed and constructed the complex and the Trump Organization agreed to receive 18% equity in the building in exchange for the use of the Trump brand name.

The deal was done, and the 391-unit tower which stands 46-stories was completed in 2008. To date, the luxurious hotel is a renowned building in the heart of a trendy neighborhood in Manhattan.

Further deals were proposed by the two companies in Florida, Arizona and beyond, however, they never came into fruition as the working relationship between Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization came to an end in 2008 as a result of the economic recession.

Arif's business today

Following the development of the Trump SoHo, Arif shifted his interest and focus in the international real estate investment back to Europe and Central Asia. Today, he has partially retired from his family's business but remains an important business advisor - providing a wealth of experience and connections that have accelerated the success of the organization.

In retirement, Arif has pursued certain charitable interests. He is one of the largest donors to the Chabad of Port Washington, which is located in a neighborhood where he resides in New York City. Tevfik Arif's career and life have come risen far from his humble start in Soviet Kazakhstan.