Four “high-end” self-contained villas are set to be built in Rutherglen this year by Melbourne investors who have strong links to the North East.
Michael and Michele Hepburn purchased the 6400-square metre block at 205 Main Street in 2017 for their short-stay accommodation concept, Basq Stays.
The couple were inspired by a similar facility in Martinborough, New Zealand, and are close to finalising their building permit with Indigo Council for four initial villas and a communal area for all guests.
“What we’re offering here we’ve experienced in New Zealand, Florence and London – we’ve had more fun in sharing accommodation with friends than when you go back to your motel and sit on the end of the bed,” Mr Hepburn said.
“At each villa there will be a living area, full kitchen, the privacy of your own bathroom, and provision for two cars plus visitor parking.
“Our stage one is four villas – three that are two bedroom, two bathroom; and one that is three bedroom, four bathroom with disabled access.
“The permit is for an additional three villas, which we will build depending on what’s popular.
“We thought this kind of offering would be perfect for Rutherglen, and what grabbed us with this site was the proximity to the centre of town.”
The couple’s $2 million investment in Basq Stays, which will be near Tuileries, follows a number of property developments over the past 10 years in Melbourne.
“We’ll always have some sort of base in the city, but we’ve been spending an increasing amount of time up here since purchasing the property in Easter-time 2017,” Mr Hepburn said.
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“We both grew up in Victoria’s North East and attended Galen College in Wangaratta, and have had a holiday home in Corowa since the mid-80s.
“Melbourne is so chaotic these days, to get out of the city is a good thing.
“Rutherglen is a sophisticated destination.”
It’s hoped the building permit will be approved soon, so that Mulwala-based Kennedy Builders can finish construction mid-year.
Since a launch with local businesses in town last year, Mrs Hepburn said the feedback had been promising.
“It’s almost scarily positive – everybody thinks it’s a great idea,” she said.
“We’re really excited.”
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