GRE Finance makes strategic hires to pursue ‘once in a decade’ opportunities in real estate debt

GRE Finance, a specialist lender to the UK real estate market, has hired two associate directors from Octopus Real Estate and Hilltop Credit Partners to capitalise on the surge of opportunities in the real estate finance market.

Clare Grimes has joined as an associate director from leading UK specialist real estate investor, Octopus Real Estate, where she specialised in the origination and execution of primarily commercial real estate debt transactions. Clare has gained extensive knowledge and experience through working with a range of clients, including funds, to deliver financing on a variety of assets across the UK. Clare is chair of the Association of Real Estate Funds’ Future Generation Committee, is a member of AREF’s management committee, is a chartered surveyor, and holds a master’s degree in Real Estate, Investment and Finance from Henley Business School.

Archie Dickinson, who also joins as an associate director, has more than 10 years of experience in real estate finance. Specialising in origination, underwriting and execution, past roles have seen him structuring and executing both senior and mezzanine development loans, working alongside high street lenders, challenger banks, institutional funds and HNWIs. Archie began his career at Proseed Capital, a mezzanine development finance lender before moving to specialist development finance provider, Hilltop Credit Partners. During his career Archie has underwritten and completed on over £750m of real estate finance.

Founded in 2020 by Michael Mirelman and Daniel Benton, GRE Finance is a specialist lender to the UK real estate market and currently holds a loan book of £110 million against residential and commercial property. Remaining active through the economic turbulence of 2023, it agreed several loans over the course of the year, including a £6 million acquisition loan against a student building in Portsmouth, a £4 million loan to MACC Care, a Midlands-based care home developer to acquire two sites with planning for new care homes, a £6 million loan to the UK’s leading retirement developer, Lifestory Group and a £17 million loan for a development finish and exit facility secured against residential development of 89 homes in Surrey.

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Daniel Benton, director at GRE Finance, said: “The opportunities in the UK’s real estate debt markets today are vast, and the appointments of Clare and Archie to kick-off this year put us in prime position to seize what could be a once in a decade opportunity. We remained active through 2023, focusing on strategic asset management in the first half of the year before identifying market opportunities in the latter half and agreeing more than £30m in real estate financing. Our opportunistic and value-add approach, depth of expertise in property development and management as well as financing, and willingness to take on projects involving planning risk means that we are very well placed to support a range of transactions taking place in the market.”

Clare Grimes, associate director at GRE Finance, said: “Because of GRE Finance’s unique approach to real estate debt, taking on risk profiles that other lenders don’t have the expertise to support, it’s one of the most interesting firms out there. Given the economic climate we’re in, this is one of the most exciting times to join such an agile team. I’m really looking forward to leading origination efforts and working with Daniel, Michael, Archie and the rest of the team to navigate the choppy waters to drive real and attractive returns for all parties.”

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