Financial services giant MetLife Inc. is considering a building in Ballantyne Corporate Park for a major expansion that could bring around 1,000 jobs to Charlotte, real estate sources say.
The insurer is considering leasing roughly 250,000 square feet in the parks new 10-story Gragg building, at the northwest corner of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and North Community House Road.
The deal is not done, and MetLife is considering other cities, possibly St. Louis, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
MetLife Home Loans has an office in St. Louis.
Sources say MetLife also may be considering an expansion in Raleigh, in addition to Charlotte and that they would likely receive state and local incentives for a move to North Carolina.
Bissell Cos., which developed Ballantyne Corporate Park, declined comment.
MetLife spokesman John Calagna said in a statement that the New York-based insurer is reviewing its real estate footprint and is considering changing locations.
We are currently undergoing a review of our real estate footprint which includes strategies around consolidating and exiting certain locations, he said.
If MetLife brought around 1,000 jobs, it would mark the largest jobs announcement for the city since late 2009, when mortgage processor Zenta said it was expanding and would create about 1,000 jobs, according to the Charlotte Chamber.
Siemens Energy announced it would create 825 jobs in 2010. The following year Connextions, a call center firm, said it would hire 800 agents and managers in Charlotte and add 400 workers to its existing Concord office.
Last year, the largest jobs announcements involved Chiquita Brands International and MSC Industrial Direct, both of which said they would create 400 jobs.
It would be the latest coup for Bissell, which, despite the down economy, has continued to build large amounts of speculative office space at its south Charlotte campus. Bissell executives have said they wanted to stay ahead of the competition and have the space to recruit new, large tenants.
Companies are requiring shorter lead times and dont want to wait for a building to be developed before moving in.
Large amounts of contiguous space are hard to come by in the Charlotte market. The parks Gragg building and new, similarly sized Woodward building are the only local properties with 250,000 square feet of available, contiguous space.
New tenants and renewals the park has signed include: The Babcock & Wilcox Co., HVM, health care company Premier Inc., snack maker Lance Inc. and Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy.
SPX Corp. also recently moved into its new 240,000-square-foot headquarters at the park, which it expects to create 180 jobs during the next five years.
Staff writer Andrew Dunn contributed.