Five unique villas reminiscent of UFOs could soon be built on the side of Mount Buninyong.
The double-storey mounted 'Skybarrels', which could be constructed on the side of the extinct volcano given planning approval, are the latest ambitious project by the small team behind the multi-award winning Clifftop at Hepburn.
David Penman, an ex army commando intelligence officer, and his accountant wife made the decision to build two villas before retiring.
That was years ago. It has been a hard road at times and they almost went broke twice, but the pair have since built numerous other accommodation villas that "nobody has ever built before".
And the oval-shaped mounted villas, which the couple hope to build at 67 Yendon Road No. 2 at Buninyong, are far from ordinary.
Designed by architect Robin Larsen, four will be 'clifftop barrels' that will be perched a few metres off the ground and accessible by a walkway.
The fifth, called 'Vertigo', will be elevated 16-metres off the ground on the edge of an 80-metre drop.
It's an act of bravery just to climb the stairs to go into Vertigo.David Penman
"People will pull up in the car park and look up at Vertigo - it's 16-metres up in the air," Mr Penman said.
"You walk up the stairs - that are designed so they look like they're floating - and enter via the bottom, like in a UFO.
"It's an act of bravery just to climb the stairs to go into Vertigo."
Once at the top, guests will step on to the back verandah and be confronted by a sheer drop and impressive panoramic views over Mount Buninyong.
Inside, guests will have a floor-to-ceiling view - with the height providing an illusion that you are 100-metres in the air.
The Skybarrels will be furnished with minimalist high-end industrial fittings - think raw steel, reclaimed wood, wooden floorboards, marble, stone, handcrafted French fireplaces and Japanese soaking baths.
Mr Penman said the idea behind the Skybarrels was to build something that would "wow people" and make them talk.
"We want them to rock up to something they've never seen before. If there's no adrenaline, then what's the point? If it's just white plaster and like going to your own home for a holiday, why would you go?
We want to do something no one has ever done before - location wise, design wise, elevation wise and luxury wise. I think there is a gap to fill in Ballarat.David Penman
"We want to do something no one has ever done before - location wise, design wise, elevation wise and luxury wise. I think there is a gap to fill in Ballarat."
The 5 star luxury accommodation would provide a completely different type of romantic getaway in Ballarat.
The project is awaiting planning approval from the City of Ballarat, though the Skybarrels are already on the market.
If approved, the project would add to the couple's growing portfolio of luxury accommodation across the region. They have built three clifftop villas in Hepburn, in addition to four shipping container villas.
They are also pushing for approval for a "world class" glamping project at Elevated Plains, near Daylesford, and also have additional plans for 6 star luxury three bedroom villas, also at Buninyong.
"Our guests at Clifftop don't say, 'I am going to Hepburn, where do I stay?' They say 'I am going to Clifftop, what do I do?'
"I think we can replicate that here. People will come for the Skybarrels and I will send them to Sovereign Hill, Underbar or to burger restaurants," he said.
The $4.7 million Skybarrels project is expected to create 50 jobs during construction and then 10 ongoing jobs once constructed.
Mr Penman said the Skybarrels could be built in 7 months following planning approval.
The villas are currently on the market and are being sold as luxury investments by Belle Property's Nathan Skewes.
The properties, which are advertised for $1 million each, would be owned and managed by Clifftop at Hepburn with a leaseback agreement promising an 8 per cent return for up to 10 years.
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