RALEIGH — Despite a massive shift to a work-from-home culture triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bandwidth is still moving ahead with big plans for new corporate headquarters in Raleigh.

Appearing in a virtual seminar conducted as part of the Economic Development Summit series on Wednesday, its founder and CEO David Morken said he remains committed to investing more than $103 million for the new campus.

This comes as many are beginning to question the impacts of remote working on commercial real estate post-coronavirus. Tech giants Facebook and Twitter have already announced that they will let workers request to permanently work from home.

But for Morken, it’s a resounding “no.”

“We’re crazy,” he told Raleigh Chamber president and CEO Adrienne Cole, who led the session. “We believe that we are all going to emerge from our homes into the bright light of an exciting future. My experienced view is that we are going to be more and more desperate than ever to collaborate — in person.”

Announced in April, the fast-growing communications software company is planning a 500,000-square-feet facility at the southwest corner of Reedy Creek Road and Edwards Mill Road. As part of the project, it will purchase a 40-acre plot of land from the State of North Carolina for a $40 million price tag.

The uptick: 1,165 new jobs with an average salary of $96,832.

Still, Morken said he recognizes some things have changed.

“The bar is getting raised for what the office experience must be to encourage collaboration, in person, at work,” he said.

Bandwidth is currently headquartered on NC State’s Centennial campus.

“We’ve been blessed by Centennial Campus here in North Carolina; it has gym facilities, recreation facilities intramural, right adjacent to our building. We’ve got to replicate that.”

Morken, a father of six and a grandfather of two, has already promised to offer an on-site, fully integrated Montessori School for children aged nine months to five years old. It will be offered as a “subsidized benefit” to employees.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve got a season of transition that we can react to how we’re designing and building with great companies — East West Partners, Capitol Broadcasting, Gensler,” he said. “All these folks are helping us in a tremendous way think through how we love our team, our customers, our partners in the community, with a campus.”

Back in 1999, Morken was fresh from serving in the Marine Corps as an advocate judge when he founded the Raleigh-based software communications company from a friend’s spare bedroom. For more than 18 years, he bootstrapped the company. Then in 2017, Bandwidth went public valued at around $300 million. Last year, it hit the $2 billion mark.

Companies like Google, Microsoft, Rover and Zoom use Bandwidth’s APIs to easily embed voice, messaging and 911 access into software and applications.

Bandwidth to purchase $30M plot from state for new HQ, adding 1,165 new jobs