Downing and Pollen Street Capital unveil real estate funding partnership

We are pleased to announce a new partnership, with Downing, to improve access to finance for SME developers, and encourage greater innovation and competition in the housing market.

Downing LLP provides funding for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and currently has £470m of AUM in property backed deals, in addition to having committed facilities of over £150m to residential developers through its experienced Property Finance division, which focuses on supporting high-quality residential SME developers. Pollen Street Capital, a private equity and credit focused manager, has invested over £1.1 billion in senior real estate debt during the past 3 years through its partnership model with property lenders. 

By combining their existing real estate lending expertise, Downing and Pollen Street Capital aim to continue to improve housing supply and competition in housebuilding. These two issues were highlighted in a recent report by the Academy of Urbanism, which argued that a greater number and breadth of housing providers are needed in order to stimulate innovation and tackle the housing crisis.  This is in the context where the government estimates that 300,000 new homes need to be built in the UK each year to keep up with rising demand. 

As part of this new partnership, Pollen Street Capital has acquired approx. £30 million of Downing's existing loan book and is providing an additional funding line to co-fund or fully fund future residential development finance and bridging deals for SME developers.

Parik Chandra, Partner and Head of Property Finance at Downing LLP, commented: "Our partnership with Pollen Street Capital gives us the ability to provide a broader offering and develop a stronger presence in the property finance market. 

"This deal will also allow us to realise our bold plans for supporting SME developers and the great work they do in tackling the UK's housing shortage in 2021 and beyond. As in so many sectors, 2020 has been challenging for the property development market but this new relationship with Pollen Street Capital, a prominent institutional asset manager, and a significant contributor to this specialist real estate sector, provides a huge vote of confidence in our approach. We look forward to working with the Pollen Street Capital team as we continue to back experienced developers with debt requirements of £1- £20m.”

Howard Garland, Partner, Pollen Street Capital, commented: "We are delighted to announce this new funding partnership with Downing, which we expect will become one of our key real estate partners going forward. The high-quality focus and market expertise of the Downing Property Finance team fits well with our real estate strategy where we look to form funding partnerships with experienced lenders in the sector. We also see a number of broader synergies between our businesses and look forward to working with them."