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Originally published October 1, 2009 at 12:17 AM | Page modified October 1, 2009 at 9:02 AM

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Chase sells luxury Cedarbrook Conference Center

Washington Mutual's former showcase conference and training complex, the Cedarbrook Conference Center, has been sold for $9 million to a local company.

Seattle Times business reporter

JPMorgan Chase has sold the 18-acre SeaTac conference center it inherited from Washington Mutual for $9 million.

The Cedarbrook Conference Center was purchased this week by a corporation led by Wright Hotels, which developed the Seattle Sheraton and Seattle Waterfront Marriott.

Washington Mutual opened Cedarbrook as a high-tech meeting and training complex in 2002, when the bank was flying high.

The city of SeaTac originally restricted its use to conferences and corporate training to minimize the impact on nearby residential neighborhoods. But after WaMu's collapse the city liberalized its rules to allow more weddings and other nonbusiness events.

In a prepared statement, the new owners called the complex "a 14,000-square-foot conference facility and 110-room hotel." But Wright Hotels President Stuart Rolfe said he and his partners plan to operate the center generally as it has been operated since Chase took it over a year ago.

Cedarbrook's proximity to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the light-rail station that will open there later this year were major factors in the decision to buy, Rolfe said.

Chase acquired the property when it purchased WaMu's banking assets. It put the center up for sale in April.

Rolfe acknowledged he and his partners probably bought Cedarbrook for less than it cost WaMu to build. It has an assessed value of more than $25 million, according to county records.

Earlier this month Chase sold the building known until recently as the WaMu Center, Washington Mutual's former downtown Seattle headquarters, to Northwestern Mutual of Milwaukee for less than 40 percent of its assessed value. The high-rise will become the new global headquarters of Tacoma-based Russell Investments.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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