Rajesh Lahoti - Defining Cool

Individuality. It’s what makes Russell Simmons “Def”, Ben & Jerry “Cool” and Trump “The” Donald. As CIO of Roy G Biv (Havana Bar, Axis nightclub, Union Station) and real-estate developer for Arms Properties (Dakota, Parke), it’s what makes Rajesh Lahoti an entrepreneurial guru of the Short North and Victorian Village.

“Our biggest challenge is to make sure that we pick the next project properly to be able to put our thumbprint on it and make it our own,” says Lahoti. “We don’t want to lose our identity. Staying on the edge and staying boutique while you’re growing keeps it fresh.”

After earning a degree from GMI/Kettering University and traveling the globe with a consulting company, Lahoti decided he needed to work for himself because he felt the corporate world promoted too slowly. At 25, he opened his first restaurant and hasn’t looked back.

“I’ve never thought, ‘if I fail,’ ” he says. “I’ve never hedged. I’ve always looked forward.” These days, along with his partners (Raymond Brown, Michael Council and Wilbur Ischie), Lahoti refines Columbus culture, revitalizes urban sophistication and actively brings a bank of ideas to fruition through the integration of art and design.

“I don’t think that a space can define success,” he says. “I think it’s about the right concept at the right time. It doesn’t matter what industry it is. I think what we do isn’t necessarily restaurants and real estate, but creating fun design concepts. And we put them out to the public so they can enjoy them.”

Soon, the public will enjoy Ibiza Urban Oasis, an 11-story high-rise with a rooftop pool, which will be built three doors down from the ever-so-cosmopolitan Union Bar + Food, 782 N. High St., which opened in April.

For more info visit armsproperties.com or usvc.com