Mack Real Estate has launched a direct property debt platform for North America and Europe.

The US company said it would focus on transitional and distressed assets across the two continents, with an initial preference for mezzanine, preferred equity and first mortgage loans.

Peter Sotoloff, co-founder of Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies, has been hired for the new strategy.

Sotoloff, who served as managing director and head of originations at BREDS, said there was tremendous demand for “flexible, experienced lenders” on transitional assets, a segment of the debt financing market where there is limited competition.

Sotoloff said real estate finance had experienced “seismic changes” since the last financial crisis.

“The landscape for borrowers is completely transformed,” he said.

Mack, founded by Richard Mack, said it had created a new company, Mack Real Estate Credit Strategies (MRECS), for the platform.

Last year, the Mack family, which has operated credit strategy funds, sold AREA Property Partners to Ares Management.