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|Washington Mutual Contributing Millions of Dollars to Low-Income Housing, Childcare and Cultural Initiatives in Seattle|
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 21, 2004--As work progresses on Washington Mutual's (NYSE:WM) new headquarters offices at Second Avenue and Union Street in downtown Seattle, the project's benefits are being widely felt as the company contributes $7.4 million into a host of projects that will enhance the livability of the downtown core.
Washington Mutual is contributing to low-income housing, childcare and cultural initiatives via the City of Seattle's Housing Bonus and Transferable Development Rights (TDR) programs. The programs are designed to enable downtown projects to have more design flexibility in exchange for contributions to important long-term City goals.
Washington Mutual's contributions include: $5.5 million to low-income housing; $1.3 million to the Seattle Art Museum's planned Olympic Sculpture Park; $500,000 to childcare center development; and, $150,000 to the City to repay a portion of the public funds used to facilitate development of Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony. As an important step in the process, on Monday, April 19, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved the sale to Washington Mutual of housing and performing arts facility TDRs owned by the City.
The Housing Bonus and TDR programs are overseen by the City's Office of Housing. The Housing Bonus program is designed to mitigate impacts of new development on downtown housing by increasing the supply of affordable residential properties. Creation of affordable housing allows a greater number of lower-wage office and hotel workers to live near their workplace, easing traffic congestion and helping downtown achieve a more mixed-income residential population.
The TDR program is designed to achieve a more variable scale of buildings in downtown, by allowing development rights to be transferred from eligible lots to high-rise commercial projects. The primary focus of the TDR program is to preserve existing residential buildings in downtown for the purpose of providing affordable housing for low-income people over the next 50 years. The TDR program also generates funding for major open space, landmark buildings and certain cultural centers, such as Benaroya Hall.
"The new Washington Mutual office tower is wonderful news for Seattle. It not only means that we get to keep Seattle's largest private employer headquartered in downtown, but contributions that Washington Mutual is making through some of Seattle's unique incentive programs will result in more affordable housing, affordable childcare, and cultural amenities," said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. "I want to applaud Washington Mutual for their leadership and support in keeping downtown Seattle a healthy and vibrant community."
Washington Mutual's contributions to the City's housing bonus fund and proceeds from TDR purchases will benefit low-income housing in the following properties:
-- The Gilmore. This Housing Resources Group property at Third Avenue and Pine Street opened in 2003 with 65 apartments affordable for lower-wage workers. -- International Village Square II. This Seattle Chinatown/International District Preservation and Development Authority property will open in June 2004 at Eighth and Dearborn with 57 units of large family units along with a gymnasium and community center and branch library. -- Second & Stewart Building. Plymouth Housing Group is renovating the old hotel at the corner of Second and Stewart (formerly the St. Regis Hotel) to create 87 studio apartments that will be permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless and disabled individuals. -- Morrison Hotel. Rehabilitation by the Downtown Emergency Service Center of the Morrison Hotel building at Third Avenue between James and Yesler streets will be completed in 2005. It will house the region's largest emergency shelter; 190 apartments with supportive services for highly disabled homeless adults; and, mental health and chemical dependency treatment services.
Washington Mutual is also purchasing housing TDR from the City. The sale proceeds will be deposited in the City's TDR bank, and used to purchase TDR from other eligible sites, to help finance rehabilitation and long-term preservation of low-income housing in downtown Seattle.
Washington Mutual's headquarters project is a joint development with the Seattle Art Museum. It is now under way on the northern two-thirds of the block bounded by First and Second Avenues and Union and University Streets, adjacent to the current museum. The project will enable the company to move thousands of employees spread over many buildings throughout downtown Seattle into consolidated facilities in a 42-story tower on the east half of the block. SAM will be able to realize its long-term expansion plan to accommodate growth of the museum's collection, visitor capacity and staff on the west half of the block. Washington Mutual will take occupancy early in 2006; SAM will open about one-third of its expansion space in 2007.
About Washington Mutual
With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a retailer of financial services that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and commercial clients. At March 31, 2004, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $280.77 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,400 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at www.wamunewsroom.com.
CONTACT: Washington Mutual Olivia Riley, 206-377-3636 (work) 206-280-5017 (mobile) firstname.lastname@example.org or Office of Housing, City of Seattle Katie Hong, 206-615-1561 or Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot 206-377-3635 (work) email@example.com SOURCE: Washington Mutual