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October 14, 2016

Eastside This Week: Another tech company signs a big lease; Investor from China buys up golf courses

Puget Sound Business Journal

A week after commercial real estate firms confirmed Amazon was expanding to downtown Bellevue, another tech company also signed a big Eastside commercial lease.

Virtual reality headset maker Oculus Rift has leased more than 100,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Willows Commerce Park II in Redmond, according to commercial real estate company Kidder Mathews.

The expansion by Oculus Rift, which Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) owns, is an indicator of how the Puget Sound region in general and the Eastside in particular, have become center of the growing virtual and augmented reality industry.

In addition to Microsoft, Bellevue-based video game company Valve is working on VR product called HTC Vive, and the region is home to startups VRcade and Atomic VR. Earlier this year, Valve leased more than 147,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Kirkland.

In other news this week from the Eastside:

On Tuesday, news broke that Hong Kong-based HNA Holdings Group had bought eight Oki Golf courses for $137 million from former Microsoft executive Scott Oki.

The properties include Washington National in Auburn, The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge in Redmond and The Plateau Club in Sammamish. The new owner will retain Oki Golf Management to manage daily operations at the courses.

Oki is the former senior vice president of sales and marketing for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT). He bought the Golf Club at Echo Falls in 1994 and acquired more courses over the years. Oki retired from Microsoft in 1992 and reportedly cashed in stock options worth an estimated $100 million.

A Boeing supplier based in Kirkland is outfitting a Boeing 777 into an airborne luxury playground for just 84 "air cruisers.

Greenpoint Technologies designed the luxe interior of the new Crystal VIP 777-200 aircraft, which is now being completed at a facility in Moses Lake for delivery in 2017. Crystal Cruises, which offers luxury cruises on the world's oceans and rivers, wants affluent travelers to take a ride on its newest ship: a pimped-out Boeing 777-200LR jet.

Meet 'the Band-Aid CEO:' The leader you want to hold things together when it's time to sell, Erik Prusch may not be a household name, but he's led two Puget Sound-area companies through major acquisitions and prepped another for its acquisition.

For the full story, go to Puget Sound Business Journal.

© 2016 American City Business Journals. All rights reserved.

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