MetLife employees will begin moving into Ballantyne Corporate Park by mid-November, the company said Tuesday as it officially announced it would house 1,380 employees in two buildings there.
The life insurance and employee benefits company will take up the entire Gragg Building and part of the Woodward Building near the intersection of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Community House Road. Both are 284,000 square feet, 10 stories and owned by The Bissell Cos. The buildings were completed in December as speculative projects, meaning they werent built for a specific tenant.
MetLife expects to occupy Gragg first and then start moving employees into Woodward by the first half of 2014, spokeswoman Meghan Lantier said.
This is a phased process thats taking place over three years, Lantier said.
MetLife also plans to bring 1,300 jobs to Cary, where it will operate a global technology and operations hub. Charlotte will be a hub for MetLifes U.S. retail business. The company hasnt announced a specific site in Cary.
St. Louis was in the running for the 2,600 jobs, but it lost to North Carolina.
In a statement Tuesday, Eric Steigerwalt, head of MetLifes U.S. retail business, said Ballantyne Corporate Park was picked because of its impressive facilities and ideal location.
Ballantyne differentiated itself as a true corporate community, and we know our employees will be attracted to the areas amenities and the great quality of life that Charlotte provides.
The city and county have approved roughly $3 million in incentives for MetLife, and the state has approved roughly $95 million.
All told, MetLife will lease roughly 340,000 square feet in the Gragg and Woodward buildings. In addition to the 1,300 jobs that will be brought to Charlotte, MetLife plans to relocate to Ballantyne Corporate Park roughly 250 MetLife employees who are already working in Charlotte in the companys retail and property and casualty operations.
Ballantyne has long been rumored as the site MetLife was considering in Charlotte. On March 5, in a closed-door meeting, Mecklenburg County commissioners gave preliminary approval to a request from the Charlotte Chamber for incentives to lure the company to Charlotte. Pat Cotham, chairwoman of the commissioners, told the Observer last month that commissioners learned at that meeting that MetLife was leaning toward Ballantyne, because it was the only place in Charlotte with enough space.
Andrew Jenkins, a managing partner for Karnes, a company that tracks Mecklenburg Countys commercial real estate market, said Tuesday that he was not surprised that MetLife chose Ballantyne Corporate Park. For one thing, he said, theres room for growth at the park.
MetLife would not have found an uptown Charlotte office building with 200,000 empty square feet, he added.
Lease terms for MetLifes Ballantyne space were not disclosed. Jenkins said the quoted rate for the Gragg Building is $28 a square foot for full service, which includes taxes, insurance and utilities. The quoted rate for full service at the Woodward Building is $27 a square foot, he said.
Both buildings are Class A, a description given to office property that is among the newest and most state-of-the-art in a market.
For Mecklenburg County, the average rate for Class A space with full service is $23.28 a square foot, Jenkins said. The rate for uptown is $27.66
Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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