Robert “Toshi” Chan is a real estate mogul, party promoter, actor and majority owner of New York City’s newest premier hotel, Flatiron Hotel.
Born and raised in San Francisco, the self-described “book geek” enrolled at Columbia University before deciding to take a mixology class on the side, a move that changed his life. He started bartending, throwing epic parties and eventually rebranded himself as Toshi, a nickname/alter ego he gave himself - the same name of the most popular person in his high school class.
Toshi still had a corporate side and was accepted into the Management Training Program at Citicorp during his senior year. After a five-year career with the company as, he left Wall Street and used his bonus money as a down payment on his first piece of property – a penthouse apartment in an old converted Yeshiva on the Lower East Side – thus igniting his passion for real estate. To make ends meet, he continued throwing “Toshi Parties,” graduating from the penthouse apartment to lofts and eventually to NYC’s iconic Puck Building, where he lived for 10 years. During this time he began to take a shot at professional acting. Toshi went on to star in various television shows and is best known for his role as a triad boss opposite Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2006 Academy Award-winning movie, The Departed.
Toshi Parties” became iconic to NYC. But when the Puck Building eventually rented out all of its event space, “Toshi” decided to invest in real estate with his party profits. It was the best of times in the economy when real estate values soared and construction loans were relatively easy to obtain. He purchased his first building in 2000, developed it and bought his second building in 2005 with all permanent financing into place, just months before the economy began to turn. Having made his mark in real estate development, larger developers began to hear of Toshi’s upstart designs, which received universal acclaim for their simple and relaxed ingenuity. From that solid foundation, Toshi expanded into hospitality, opening the Flatiron Hotel in 2011. Eventually he added “Toshi's Living Room & Penthouse,” NYC’s preeminent live music venue bar and restaurant.
Toshi is a regular fixture at the Flatiron Hotel, which bears a caricature of himself as the logo. Also a staple at the hotel is his beloved dog, Ponzu, who often greets customers at the door.