The company used a research firm to choose where to locate its new hub, taking into account education levels, cost of living, housing prices and average wages, among other factors, Hoak said.

"It all came back to Greenville. And we considered cities like Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, Orlando," Hoak said.

TD Bank's three gleaming buildings sit just off Interstate 85, right by Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research. The complex's eye-catching architecture gives the Upstate landmarks other than the giant peach in Gaffney and BMW in Greer along one of the state's busiest roads. Greenville Mayor Knox White said an out-of-town friend who frequently drives from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., said it is the prettiest thing he sees.

"Perhaps those of us who live here and are close to it don't see it every day," White said. "But more and more, thousands of people do. This is our face. This is our front door."

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