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SANDPOINT, ID-When a partnership between Harbor Properties and cellular mogul Keith McCaw Schweitzer Mountain Resort was purchased from receivership in 1998, it launched a 10-year plan that included several multifamily residential projects. Three years later, Harbor Mountain LLC’s mission to upgrade the ski area and transform it into a year-round resort has resulted in condominium sales that have surprised management.

One of the resort’s first orders of business targeted the well-worn Green Gables, its 82 hotel rooms being converted to 41 condominiums. Sales opened in November 1999 at an astounding pace, with deals inked on 31 units in just three hours at prices between $200,000 and $330,000. Stan Hatch, real estate sales director at Schweitzer, tells GlobeSt.com the condominiums, renamed the Selkirk Lodge, now function in quasi-hotel fashion with the units being available to rent when not occupied by their owners.

The second multifamily project is the White Pine Lodge, an undertaking of Schweitzer Development Company, a Harbor subsidiary. Hatch describes the new lodge as “the cornerstone of development that will probably take another nine to 10 years to build out an additional eight or nine buildings.”

Ranging in size from 566 sf to 609 sf for one-bedrooms to a single, three-bedroom unit with 1,207 sf, prices run from $220,000 to $650,000. The 75,000-sf lodge contains 6,000 sf of ground-floor retail and a fitness center.

Completion of the 50-unit fully-furnished White Pine is not expected until next spring, but already it has sold out its 28 one-bedroom units. “We didn’t expect that, so we recently made the decision to convert four of the two-bedrooms into another six one-bedrooms,” Hatch says.

Long-term, Harbor envisions Schweitzer Mountain’s ski village with 450 living units. But whether upgrades and construction at the resort will remain on pace with the original 10-year projections is uncertain — as is much these days in recreation-based industry.

“We’re rethinking our (expansion) plans for the future,” he says. The fact that most visitors drive to Schweitzer, says Hatch, “bodes well for us in a tragic kind of way.”

Although the mountain generally draws many Canadians, he doesn’t know how the long border crossings will affect Schweitzer’s season. Hatch poses the question himself, “Where do we go from here?” then answers, “Looking back 20 years from now we’ll have it done, but for now we’ve got rough decisions to make.”

“We’re looking at a couple different alternatives,” Ron Cook, president of Harbor Resort LLC, tells GlobeSt.com. “We’ve had no board meeting since Sept. 11, and, like any business, it would be irresponsible to not revisit our plans.”

There is a silver lining, in Cook’s view. “From an investment standpoint, people are looking at alternatives — such as real estate — and historically resort real estate is an asset that appreciates.”

White Pine’s architecture and interior design are by Callison Architecture of Seattle. The contractor is Lydig Construction of Spokane. Other construction members include ABKJ Engineering and Sparling Inc. of Seattle and CDi Engineers of Lynwood. Schweitzer Mountain Resort has 59 trails and open-bowl skiing (beginner to expert) covering 2,500 acres of terrain, a 6,500-ft summit, 2,400-ft vertical drop—and warm-weather recreation ranges from golf to horseback riding.

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