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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- MetLife plans to occupy two buildings in Ballantyne Corporate Park, officials announced Tuesday, ending months of speculation about where the company would set up operations to bring 1,300 jobs to Charlotte.

The life insurance and employee benefits company will take up the entire Gragg Building and part of the Woodward Building. Both are speculative projects owned by The Bissell Cos. and completed in December.

MetLife plans to create hubs in Charlotte and in Cary, which is also set to receive 1,300 MetLife jobs. St. Louis was in the running for the 2,600 jobs, but it lost to North Carolina.

Rumors that MetLife was in talks to set up its Charlotte operation in Ballantyne Corporate Park have been swirling for months, but MetLife and Bissell officials have declined to comment.

In a statement Tuesday, Eric Steigerwalt, head of MetLife s 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 area s amenities and the great quality of life that Charlotte provides.

The Gragg and Woodward buildings are each 10 stories. All told, MetLife will lease roughly 340,000 square feet of in the buildings.

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