How Tevfik Arif Made It to the American Real Estate Market

Written by Posted On Monday, 08 February 2021 08:18

All over the world, people dream of making it to the United States and living the American dream, but only a few succeed. One of them is Turkish-Kazakhstani Tevfik Arif.

He was born in 1953 in Soviet Kazakhstan and grew up in a family of Turkish origin.

While living with his parents and three brothers, the young Tevfik Arif became interested in business and economics, so it was not a surprise to anyone that he went on to pursue a career in that field.

Tevfik Arif got a degree in International Relations from the Moscow Trade and Economic Institute and was soon after employed by the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade.

Working for the government was a respected and favored career path to take, as it was perceived as a great opportunity to advance one’s future.

During Tevfik Arif’s 17 years working for the government, he was promoted multiple times and ended up being the deputy head of the Ministry’s Hotel Management Department.

As the Soviet Union collapsed at the beginning of the 1990s, more and more people decided to give the private sector a try, and Tevfik Arif was among them.

He left his job in the government and established several companies focusing on luxury property development, import and export, natural resources, automobiles, food and minerals.

He benefitted greatly from his extensive knowledge about luxury real estate development and hotels from his degree and from his many years working for the government.

Because of the comprehensive network of international partners that he gained via his many businesses; new doors opened for Tevfik Arif.

Tevfik Arif in Europe, Central Asia and the United States

In 1993, Tevfik Arif moved to Turkey and began investing in the tourism industry and luxury real estate.

He knew how to utilize all of the knowledge that he had acquired throughout his studies and career and quickly became a pioneering force behind the all-inclusive resorts.

One of his first real estate development projects in Turkey was the all-inclusive Labada hotel in Antalya.

Over the next couple of years, Tevfik Arif expanded his business venture to include Europe and Central Asia.

In 2001, he moved to New York City to be closer to the American branch of his familys, and this was when he founded a new luxury real estate development firm; Bayrock Group.

One of the first projects of the newly established company was renovating the shopping center Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza in the Sheepshead Bay area of Brooklyn, New York.

After several more successful projects, Tevfik Arif decided to look for larger developments and accompanied the change in strategy by relocating Bayrock Group’s New York City offices.

The new address was the 24th floor of the Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. Here, the luxury real estate development company encountered the building’s most famous tenant, the Trump Organization.

The two firms decided to cooperate on a project that Bayrock Group was already working on with the Sapir Organization; the Trump SoHo building.

The construction did not get its name until the Trump Organization was onboard.

Tevfik Arif acknowledged that the Trump brand was powerful, so he brokered an agreement that would leave the Trump Organization with 18% equity in the building in exchange for using the Trump name in the title of the building.

In 2006, the first brick was laid, and two years later, the impressive Trump SoHo was open for business on Spring Street in Manhattan.

Tevfik Arif leaves nothing to chance

The 46-story building contained hotel rooms, apartments, premium restaurants and bars, a world-class spa, an outdoor pool, event halls and a banquet hall.

Guests could enjoy an unprecedented view of New York City through the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows, and nothing was left to chance.

Tevfik Arif hired Handel Architects to design the building itself, while Rockwell Group took care of the interior.

Handel Architects is recognized as a frontrunner in the world of architecture and design and is the company behind the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City and the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington D.C.

Rockwell Group, with multiple luxury hotels, restaurants and casinos on its resume, furnished Trump SoHo with items from the Italian luxury brand Fendi Casa.

Trump SoHo quickly became a popular place, and it encouraged Tevfik Arif and the Trump Organization to seek further joint ventures.

They planned similar real estate development projects under the same licensing terms in Florida and Arizona, but the 2008 financial crisis put a stop to their plans.

Following a changing American market, Tevfik Arif went back to Europe and Central Asia, where it all had begun many years earlier.

He eventually resigned from most of his daily activities in Bayrock Group, but he is still a trusted and valued advisor to the company.

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