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Cornerstone hires European debt head

Chris Bates has joined the real estate investment manager from Harville as it seeks to increase its lending footprint beyond the US.

Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors has appointed Chris Bates as head of European real estate finance, according to a statement from the firm. The real estate group, which already manages a substantial $27 billion US real estate platform, is looking to increase its footprint beyond its domestic US market. Bates’ appointment is, the firm said, a significant step in establishing a European real estate lending team with the capability to originate loans in-house.

Bates will report to Charles Weeks, chief executive of Cornerstone in Europe. He will be responsible for originating and executing real estate debt deals throughout Europe, as well as building out the team as the franchise grows.

Bates joins from Harville, a private debt advisory business he founded. Prior to that, he spent 10 years at the Royal Bank of Scotland, where he was real estate managing director in the bank’s secured debt markets team focusing on the UK but also responsible for dealmaking in France and Germany. Prior to RBS, he held principal roles at GE Capital’s real estate division and Chelsfield.

Cornerstone’s first European real estate debt investment came last year, when it completed an £83 million ($125 million; €96 million) refinancing of Derwent London.

In a statement, Weeks commented on the hire, saying: “With a significant appetite for investment into the European real estate lending market from our existing US client base, Chris’ appointment marks a further major milestone in the development of our European debt investment platform as it provides us with the expertise to originate transactions in-house – something that we had always planned to do.”