Illuminating Investments Limited

Illuminating Investments Limted was established in 2016 by John and Michael McDonnell. David Aspland joined the company as a Director in 2017 and since then the company has been directly involved in over £50 million of property related transactions.

The scope of deals has ranged from direct purchases, funding arrangements, promotion agreements, joint ventures and direct development, always working with carefully chosen partners and the very best professionals and contractors to deliver the best outcomes.

Illuminating Investments Limited are always interested in the next deal and willing to look at deals across any sector.

David Aspland

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David has over 20 years’ experience in the commercial, residential development and investment property market having worked for Donaldsons, Unite PLC and latterly as a partner for Savills and Carter Jonas where he headed up the northern commercial division. Illuminating Investments Limited provides the ideal platform for David and the team to partake directly rather than supply advice on development and investment opportunities.

The ability to purchase property directly from cash funds, from 3rd parties or enter into joint ventures with development partners provides the flexibility to ensure Illuminating Investments Limited can consider the full spectrum of opportunities both on and off the market.

John and Michael McDonnell

Michael 150Michael McDonnell

John McDonnell and Michael McDonnell founded Harvard Engineering Ltd in 1993. The business specialised in electronic power supplies and wireless controls for the commercial, industrial, retail display and public lighting sectors. They built it into a business employing over 400 people in the UK and Internationally with a turnover of £46M which they sold to private equity in 2013 and subsequently exited in 2015.

Wishing to start second careers they became founding partners in Illuminating Investments Limited in 2014.

John 150John McDonnell

John is also closely involved with Connect Yorkshire, a not for profit business which exists to help Yorkshire businesses grow, and chairs the Connect Leaders Forum, which helps business owners help each other through group mentoring and issue processing.

Michael has over 20 years’ business experience leading dynamic and energetic teams as Sales and Marketing Director, Operations Director and Commercial Director.

Current Projects

Moorfield House, Headingley

  • In January 2020, Illuminating Investments Limited completed the acquisition of Moorfield House, a grade 2 listed office building in the heart of Headingley, Leeds.
  • The property extended to 23,000 sq ft and was characterised by a historic Victorian mansion linked to a modern purpose built office.
  • The office element was let in 2021 to the Lighthouse Trust
  • The period property is now on the market for sale and would be ideal for an owner occupier.

The Old Reservoir, East Keswick

  • Illuminating Investments Limited purchased this property from Keyland (Yorkshire Water) in  2021, with planning consent for one of the most challenging but unique residential developments in Leeds. Additional adjoining land was also acquired to create a site area of over 2 acres.
  • The property has been developed in conjunction with local builder PDS Construction Limited to deliver a high specification, 4500sq ft Grand Design. The project completed in February 2022, after an impressive 8 month build period and is now available to view.


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Church Street, Boston Spa, Borlocco

  • Illuminating Investments Limited purchased Borlocco, a former gentleman’s residence and subsequently a children’s home, from the Catholic Church in December 2017.
  • The property is of historical interest extending to over 6,000 sq ft in grounds of c2 acres.
  • An off-market sale has been agreed with a high net worth individual with aspirations to redevelop the property into a single luxury dwelling.
  • Illuminating Investments Limited have been proactive in introducing a full professional team to work with the purchaser to secure the necessary planning consent which is currently under consideration.

High Trees – Boston Spa

  • Illuminating Investments Ltd agreed a planning promotion agreement with the owners of High Trees Nursery in 2018.
  • After 18 months in planning a scheme to provide for the demolition of the existing nursery and provision of three plots for self build executive homes has been agreed.
  • Each plot has now been sold.

St. Vincents, Church Street, Boston Spa

  • The site was purchased in May 2018 from the Catholic Church. The site housed a derelict school, on an allocated housing site.
  • A sale has been agreed with McCarthy & Stone on a subject to planning basis.

Holydene, Church Street, Boston Spa

  • In addition to St Vincents, the Hollydene nursery site was also purchased unconditionally in 2018. The site is allocated for housing.
  • Illuminating Investments Limited have worked with a strong professional team and submitted a planning application in November 2021 for 6 executive homes, 7 self-build plots and 7 first time buyer homes.

The Bay Horse, Kirk Deighton

  • Illuminating Investments Limited purchased the Bay Horse in June 2017 as a vacant and unloved pub that had seen 13 different tenants in 10 years.
  • Upon completion of the purchase, a deal was structured with local landlords, Lambs of Leeds Limited who are running a now successful pub which is a real centrepiece of the pretty village of Kirk Deighton near Wetherby.

Past Projects

New Briggate, Leeds City Centre

  • Illuminating Investments Limited completed the purchase of the upper floors of 47-51 new Briggate in April 2020.
  • The property was sold with a planning consent for 9 apartments to Samara Estates Limited.

Walkers Court, Wetherby

  • Working closely with Deem Limited, the owner of the two office buildings, Fairfax and Marston House, Illuminating Investments Limited submitted and achieved permitted development rights to deliver 16, one and two bedroom luxury apartments in the popular market town of Wetherby.
  • Illuminating Investments Limited provided funding for the build and project managed the development which was carried out by Head Office 3 Ltd.
  • The apartments have now been completed and have all been sold to a mix of investors and owner occupiers.

The Sycamores, Melmerby

  • Illuminating Investments Limited purchased the site in 2017
  • Planning permission was secured for the development of three detached 4 and 5 bedroom houses.
  • The design brief was to produce highly energy efficient houses incorporating substantial insulation properties and air source heat pumps.
  • The properties were all completed and sold during 2021.
  • The build was undertaken and project managed by Olbe Developments Limited with Illuminating Investments Limited providing full development finance.

Scarsdale Lane, Bardsey

  • Working in partnership with local contractors PDS Construction, Illuminating Investments Limited provided development finance for the purchase of a prime residential site with existing planning for 2 large detached houses.
  • Construction of the two houses is now complete and both houses have been sold with the development finance being repaid with interest.

The acquisition of Sovereign House as a new HQ for Leeds Building Society

  • Working with the Leeds Building Society, Illuminating Investments Limited were the lead consultant in identifying and acquiring the existing 80,000sq ft Sovereign House for in excess of £20 million.
  • The deal was completed in 2018.

Photon Park, Normanton

  • Photon Park was developed initially as a brand new HQ for Harvard Engineering Ltd in 2017, but the 16 acre site, with 54,000 sq ft of industrial space and a 30,000 ft office facility was never occupied by the company.
  • After a successful marketing campaign, the entire buildings and site were let on a 15 year lease to Aston Barclay Ltd www.astonbarclay.net for use as a vehicle auction site.
  • The investment was then sold to Worthing and Adur County Council for an 8 figure sum.

Photon Park - Phase 1

For Sale/To Let – HARVARD WAY, WF6 1GX • J31 M62

Photon Park - Phase 2

  • Over 7 acres of prime industrial development land remains at Photon Park
  • Potential for 50,000 – 90,000 sqft industrial
  • For more information contact David Aspland dha@illuminatinginvestments.com 07972000149

Chapel Place, Well Lane, Chapel Allerton

  • Alexandra House was bought as a standing investment by Illuminating Investments Limited in February 2016.
  • Permitted development rights were applied for to change the existing offices to residential use.
  • Detailed architectural plans were commissioned to provide 6 luxury apartments and 2 penthouses.
  • Working hand in hand with the tenants, Illuminating Investments Limited sourced alternative accommodation for all parties
  • Work on site began in January 2017 and the project was completed in Spring 2017.

Brittania Gardens, Pudsey

  • Illuminating Investments Limited were approached by Gregory Properties Ltd www.gregorypropertygroup.co.uk to fund the land purchase of the former Wood Mitchell Timber Products site in Pudsey.
  • Illuminating Investments Limited purchased the site unconditionally and entered into a development agreement with Gregorys allowing them to seek planning for 12 x two-bedroom townhouses.
  • Full planning consent was granted in August 2016 where upon Illuminating Investments Limited also agreed to provide full development finance for the project.
  • All houses were sold by the year end 2018.

Herons Keep, Thorpe Arch

  • The property was sold to a local owner occupier in 2018. It is now subject to a planning application for a spectacular single dwelling.

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