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Posted: 6:18 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013
By Scott Wickersham
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Channel 9 has learned exclusive details about MetLife planning a major move to Ballantyne.
Anchor Scott Wickersham's sources said this could be a major move of MetLife's corporate headquarters from New York to Ballantyne Corporate Park, or perhaps a divisional headquarters. The company would move into one or two vacant office buildings at the corner of Ballantyne Commons and Community House Road. Bissell Cos., which runs the corporate park, has no comment. But Eyewitness News learned exclusive new details that show the deal is almost done. The project is operating under the code name "Magellan" to keep the deal quiet. Real estate services company Jones Lang Lasalle has been hired as project manager. It's taking bids from local companies for things like office furniture and office connectivity. And 1,400 jobs would be moved to Ballantyne. When Channel 9 first heard of this two weeks ago, WSOC asked council members and county commissioners, but they hadn't heard about the deal, or economic incentives to get MetLife to Charlotte. Economist John Connaughton says the move would make sense. MetLife could save considerably on real estate costs, and Charlotte is attractive to workers. "It's expensive to do business in New York," Connaughton said. "This is a new world. The new interconnect world means you don't have to be right next door to all the people you do business with." Those new workers would shop and eat. It is great news for Jay Duffy, who opened Blackthorne Restaurant across the street a year ago. He hopes the now-empty buildings will be full soon. "We have business from other nearby offices, but to have it full right across the street will be great," Duffy said. MetLife said its corporate headquarters is not moving, but did say it is reviewing its real estate footprint, which may include consolidating and leaving certain locations.
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