The lines are set to flow again at Camperdown’s Leura Hotel with a partnership of four set to reopen the historic landmark’s doors to business as early as next month.
Geelong-based partners Tony Tartaglia, James Williams, Ayman Muhor and David Boris have already started renovation works to bring the building up to scratch.
Closed as a functioning hotel since 2011, the hotel briefly opened as an antiques showroom over the last 18 months.
Mr Tartaglia said initial attention was focused on getting the upstairs accommodation fitted out and open for business.
“All the bedding has been ordered, the furniture is being built as we speak and new carpet has been ordered,” he said.
“The will be 28 functioning rooms – 12 being queen deluxes, six doubles and 10 king singles.
“Renovations are also under way on the bathrooms and a new kitchen is being installed in the upstairs common room.”
Mr Tartaglia said Camperdown had limited accommodation options currently available.
“It’s the same story in Cobden and Terang so we think there’s a definite need for hotel rooms, especially with the influx of workers associated with the nearby wind farm projects,” he said.
“Having more accommodation available will also help to promote Camperdown as a whole and everything it has to offer.”
While still finalising the exact layout of the ground floor area, the partnership is keen to establish a cafe/bar in one section in addition to a main bar area, a restaurant area and a beer garden area with a woodfired pizza oven and salad bar.
Plans are also under way to remove the existing timber-topped bars and replace them with old-styled American oak bars, which would act as focus pieces.
“In the initial stages we will run regular ‘pop up’ food nights,” Mr Tartaglia said.
“We already have Sethro’s Texas Barbecue lined up, as well as Boss Burgers of Geelong and a Mexican food operator.
“Hopefully we can do a ‘pop up’ at least once a week, until we get our own menu finalised and operational.
“That gives us a chance to gauge the kind of dining preferences the locals have as well.”
The partnership is also keen to work with local community groups who will be invited to operate sausage sizzles while the hotel presents outdoor Sunday music sessions.
Mr Tartaglia said the group was “hugely excited” to be bringing the Leura Hotel back to life.
“Between us, we already operate quite a lot of hotels and restaurants, so we have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t.”
Among the establishments already operated by members of the partnership are the Lord Nelson in Geelong, The Greek restaurant in Geelong’s old customs house building, the Frankie Asian restaurant in Geelong and Justin Lane Pizza on the Gold Coast.
Mr Tartaglia said the group was encouraged by the support and best wishes it has already received from the wider Camperdown public and from the “excellent” support it had received from the Corangamite Shire Council.
“We hope the community is as excited as us about bringing the Leura back to life and that they come in and have a look for themselves once we’re up and running,” he said.