Apr 01, 2014

MountainStar co-founder explains western expansion

MountainStar Capital, a private equity firm in Ponte Vedra Beach,  has expanded its operations to Vail, Colo., where one of its executives has vacationed most of his life.

“We believe in the area and its investment potential; we’ve been playing in the high-end, luxury rental market for awhile and felt it was time to have more of a presence there,” Christopher Lazzara told the Business Journal.

Co-founders Lazzara and Marc Fraga began privately investing in a broad range of asset classes in 2009, securing a large portfolio of commercial and residential properties.

The firm, which has about 10 staffers, invests in small to medium companies, focusing on real estate, especially income-producing luxury vacation properties, multifamily residential projects and commercial office space. It also sets aside a portion of its budget for investment in venture capital opportunities, including startups.

MountainStar’s expansion represents its evolution into an “outward-looking investment company,” according to a press release issued by the firm.

“We’ve never felt the need to be real visible in looking for deals, but now that we’ve added some really talented people [to their staff] and investor confidence is high, we wanted to get out name out there a bit more,” Lazzara said.

Lazarra said the firm would be setting up a part-time office in Vail soon and could put down permanent roots there by the end of the year.

That doesn’t mean it will lose focus on the Jacksonville market.

“We’re always looking for the next big idea, and there have been some great tech startups in the Jacksonville area,” Lazzara said.

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