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Washington Mutual Announces Plans to Build Leadership Center at SeaTac
SEATTLE, Sep 21, 2001 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) announced today plans to build a corporate leadership training center in the City of SeaTac.

Groundbreaking for the three-building, 107,000-square-foot center is expected to take place this fall, with construction completed in late 2002.

"As we achieve our goal to become one of the premier financial services companies in the United States, a key to our success will be the quality of our employees," stated Kerry Killinger, Washington Mutual president, chairman and chief executive officer. "Although employee and management development has long been an important focus for Washington Mutual, the new leadership center will better enable us to support our ongoing leadership development efforts and prepare the next generation of Washington Mutual leaders."

Nestled on an 18-acre campus, the main building of the Washington Mutual Leadership Center at Cedarbrook will be built into the gently sloping land to create a low site profile. Entrance to the leadership center will be to the south of the property at the intersection of 36th Avenue South and South 186th Street. In addition, the campus will feature two smaller guest buildings, altogether offering approximately 100 guest rooms. The three buildings and surrounding 150-car parking lot will sit along the southern and eastern portions of the land, leaving nearly one-half of the property as wetlands which are to be donated to the city of SeaTac for restoration and public access.

"To be a world-class company, we need to continually offer world-class tools and development opportunities to our employees," added Steve Freimuth, Washington Mutual executive vice president of corporate services. "The new leadership center with its open campus and state-of-the-art conference rooms and amenities will take center stage for many of these efforts." He further noted the leadership center with close proximity to many of Washington Mutual's Seattle-based operations and easy access to SeaTac International Airport is expected to represent significant cost savings to the company.

The design of the project will reflect a contemporary character with exposed structures, natural materials, and ample natural light throughout the meeting rooms and the guest rooms. The first floor of the main building opens to a central lobby featuring a great room with sitting areas and a large, double-sided fireplace and connecting to a grand staircase leading to the second floor. Meeting spaces which include a 120-seat auditorium, boardroom, and additional breakout rooms will be located throughout the two stories of the facility. The building will also house a main dining room and kitchen.

Project developer and operator of the Washington Mutual Leadership Center at Cedarbrook is Columbia Hospitality, a Seattle-based hospitality company whose managed properties include the Bell Harbor International Conference Center, the Aljoya Conference Center in Seattle, the Inn at Langley, The Resort at Deer Harbor, the Friday Harbor House on San Juan Island, and the World Trade Center Seattle. GGLO of Seattle is the architect, interior designer, and landscape architect, and is working with SvR Design on the wetland restoration plan.

The restoration of the wetlands will be done in two phases. "The end result will be a wetland which will be vastly improved and with greater access by the public for enjoyment," said Freimuth of Washington Mutual.

Both the campus area with the three buildings surrounded by a wetland buffer and the large parcel to be donated to the City of SeaTac for public use will first undergo removal of invasive non-native plants. The clean-up phase will be followed by native plant and tree planting, with more than 400 trees including many Western Red Cedar to be planted. A heavily treed walkway will be built along the northern perimeter of the donated wetland parcel to admit public access by nearby residents, with future development by the City of SeaTac to include a possible pedestrian trail linking the neighborhood to nearby Bow Lake.

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a national financial services company that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At June 30, 2001, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had consolidated assets of $229.30 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,300 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation.

CONTACT:          Washington Mutual
                  Libby Hutchinson, 206/461-2484