It’s perhaps the most commonly uttered question posed by those travelling on Mitchell Street.
“When’s the Hopetoun Hotel reopening?”
Well, next month looms as the most likely date, with finishing touches being applied to the historic hotel, which will reopen as a popular restaurant chain.
Melbourne-based chain Lazy Moe's bought the hotel in February 2012, and owner Michael Guida said he hoped to have the hotel open again by 2015.
With the finishing line in sight, Mr Guida is hoping to start the local recruitment process, and believes the new restaurant, which will hold 150 people, can support 30 new jobs.
The hotel is awaiting a permit from council to authorise an outdoor drinking area.
“We were hoping to be open two years ago, but sometimes it doesn't happen. It (redevelopment) has taken its time, but we're finished, we're done,” he said.
The hotel, at the corner of Mitchell and Wills Street, has been idle for close to 10 years.
Mr Guida said the restaurant, which has retained a lot of the original features of the hotel, was something Bendigo was crying out for.
“It has been a stale corner for a very long time and people are excited about it. She’s come up really nice,” he said.
The hotel site also includes four one-bedroom apartments on the first floor, but Mr Guida said it was unclear whether they would be rented out.