Snow Builder

Expansion plans at 49 Degrees North

click to enlarge A rendering of Sunrise Basin at 49 Degrees North.
A rendering of Sunrise Basin at 49 Degrees North.

John Eminger used to laugh at the business school students at Eastern Washington University, where he earned degrees in philosophy and history. But now he thinks an economics class could have come in handy.

After almost 20 years, Eminger's vision for his ski resort an hour north of Spokane has evolved into the 320-acre development known as Sunrise Basin. Eminger bought Chewelah-based 49 Degrees North in 1996 and has been planning for what could amount to a $500 million resort community ever since.

"The idea just kind of grows, and then you realize that you're really the caretaker of the mountain for a generation," he says. "It's going to be here long after I go away."

In August, the public could start reserving lots in the first phase of the 50-acre development. They start at $175,000 for a studio and range all the way up to half a million bucks for a 2,600-square-foot three-bedroom unit. Phase one, which he's calling Alpine Glades, will include single-family units, duplexes, townhomes and condominiums.

The entire resort community, which Eminger says could be 20, even 40 years down the road, will include 2,200 residential units, 800 hotel rooms and up to 300,000 square feet of commercial space.

"I'm not a developer by trade. I'm a ski bum by trade," Eminger says. "So the first thing we look at is the skiing. That's what I'm after."

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About The Author

Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.