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Washington Mutual Celebrates Opening of Leadership Center at Cedarbrook

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 19, 2002--Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) announces the opening of its new corporate leadership development center.

Nestled on an 18-acre campus with a natural wetland, the Washington Mutual Leadership Center at Cedarbrook offers meeting rooms and guest facilities in a contemporary retreat environment.

"As one of the nation's top growth retailers of consumer financial services, we know that our long-term success depends upon developing our future leaders through a common curriculum and corporate culture," stated Kerry Killinger, Washington Mutual Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Although we already have ongoing leadership development programs, we've realized the need for some time to have a facility that truly sets the stage for these efforts. The result is a center that builds upon the best of the design world -- a place that fosters reflection and personal growth, and an environment where teams can work together on new initiatives."

Located at 18525 36th Ave. S. near SeaTac Aiport, the leadership center totals 107,000 square feet altogether and is located in three buildings including a meeting facility and two smaller guest buildings. The facility was designed with maximum flexibility to comfortably host many types of meeting events.

The centerpiece of the development is the main meeting building, which opens to a central lobby with informal sitting areas and a large, double-sided fireplace. The lobby connects to ground-floor dining facilities managed by an in-house cooking team. The second floor offers meeting and break-out rooms including a board room and a 150-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium.

The two smaller buildings offer 110 overnight guest rooms and suites, with one building housing a fitness center. In addition to standard guest amenities such as baths and desks, the rooms offer views overlooking the wetland area and laptop connectivity with high-speed Internet access.

Design reflects WaMu's culture

"The Washington Mutual Leadership Center at Cedarbrook was carefully designed to reflect our corporate culture," added Steve Freimuth, Washington Mutual executive vice president of corporate services. "It is casual and informal with areas where people can relax, while also offering more formal space for meetings and training."

Architectural features include natural Northwest materials such as stone and shake siding and fir window trim, as well as ample natural light from large windows and skylights. The buildings are aesthetically framed by extensive landscaping, including a stone bridge and waterfall which lead into the development and other water elements that are used throughout the campus. Streams wander along the site and collect into large ponds that flank the main building's entry and back patio areas. Pathways also meander throughout the property and a large walkway follows the wetland buffer area.

Wetlands restoration

The wetlands have undergone extensive restoration -- both in the development's campus setting and in the large parcel that has been donated to the City of SeaTac for public use. An extensive clean-up phase earlier in the year has been followed by native plant and tree planting, with more than 400 trees including many Western Red Cedar planted. A heavily treed walkway has been built along the northern perimeter of the donated wetland parcel, with future plans by the City of SeaTac to include a possible pedestrian trail linking the neighborhood to nearby Bow Lake.

Project developer and operator of the Washington Mutual Leadership Center at Cedarbrook is Columbia Hospitality Inc., 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, 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 has worked with SvR Design on the wetland restoration plan.

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 September 30, 2002, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $261.10 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,500 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at www.wamu.com.


CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Mary Kelley, 206/377-6878
Columbia Hospitality
Richard Johnson, 206/239-1809