Asset manager GWM has made its debut in the Irish lending market with the origination of a €58.4 million hotel loan via its Commercial Real Estate Debt Opportunities (CREDO) lending platform, funding the financing at a time when it is seeing other lenders limit their exposure to European real estate.

“Traditional bank lenders are further retreating from the sector while the feeling is also that the big US alternative lender funds are switching their focus to the US,” Gennaro Giordano, managing partner at GWM, told Real Estate Capital Europe.

“As a result… we’re seeing an increased volume of deals that would fit [CREDO’s] fund strategy, maintaining our rigorous and conservative underwriting approach,” he added.

The firm’s first loan in Ireland will be used to refinance a construction loan for a three-star Hampton by Hilton hotel located in the centre of Dublin, Ireland.

“We like the Dublin hotel market, which has strong fundamentals and still [has a] lack of supply to meet current demand. In particular, our preference goes to the three-to-four-star hotel segment [which has a] very light cost structure and [is] more resilient in the inflationary [climate],” Giordano added.

The firm launched the CREDO lending platform in August to focus on providing senior loans and whole loans in markets with greater limitation on the supply of credit from traditional lenders.

The vehicle invests in logistics, offices and residential, but it also has scope to target selective sectors weakened by the covid-19 pandemic such as hospitality, as well as underwriting small to medium sized loans. The capital target for the vehicle was €500 million.

In May, GWM appointed former BlackRock and Apollo investment professional Guillaume Soule as head of real estate debt origination. His remit encompasses expanding and generating new deals for the CREDO fund. While at BlackRock, Soule was responsible for real estate loan origination in France, Spain and the Nordics.