Amstar splits into two entities

The Denver-based institutional investment manager and family office have parted ways to focus on separate real estate strategies.

Amstar Group and Amstar Advisers have formally separated. Amstar Group, which was founded in 1987 and makes real estate investments on behalf of a family office, and Amstar Advisers, which was formed in 2010 and raises and deploys institutional capital, are now operating as independent firms.

PERE understands that the reason for the separation was the diverging interests of the two parties. The family office, or the principal side of the business, is said to have wanted a team that would focus only on its real estate interests, which include investments in both the US as well as emerging international markets. Meanwhile, the third-party investment management arm is said to have wanted to continue managing institutional capital and focus on value-add and opportunistic investing across all major property types solely in the US.

Amstar Group has hired a new chief executive officer, Joseph Zuber, formerly a managing principal at private equity real estate firm Black Walnut Capital, to head the group, which currently has $2 billion in assets under management in office, hospitality, residential, retail and industrial properties throughout the US and international markets. Amstar’s commingled funds targeting emerging markets such as Turkey, Poland and Russia will remain with the family office.

Meanwhile, Amstar Advisers retains its chief executive officer, Gabe Finke – who also had acted as CEO of Amstar Group from 2003 until earlier this month – as well as the rest of its management team, including managing director Rob Toomey. The investment manager now will oversee approximately 35 to 40 US investments that will amount to approximately $1 billion of AUM once fully stabilized. The firm also will continue to manage two large fully discretionary evergreen single investor funds operating in the US.