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
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
-- 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
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
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)
Office of Housing, City of Seattle
Katie Hong, 206-615-1561
SOURCE: Washington Mutual