On November 28, 2023, a report stated that a Virginia lawmaker, Del. Wren Williams, introduced a bill to the Virginia General Assembly that aimed to permit Fairfax County to host commercial casino development. This is in response to the interest expressed by Comstock Companies, a real estate developer, in building a Las Vegas-style resort in the area.
Williams’ ties to Comstock Companies are deep-rooted, as the CEO, Chris Clemente, contributed $12,500 to Williams’ 2023 campaign. Additionally, the younger Clemente, Nick Clemente, who has significant influence within the North Virginia Chamber of Commerce, authorized a $500 donation to Williams’ campaign. Williams also supported Nick Clemente’s 2021 campaign for state office.
However, despite the mutual support and financial contributions, the legislation introduced by Williams, and an identical bill in the Senate introduced by Sen. David Marsden, was later rescinded just a week after being introduced. Both lawmakers reasoned that the gaming legislation would be given more appropriate consideration during the 2024 session.
Comstock Companies, established in 1985, labels itself as the chief real estate developer in the Dulles Corridor. The company manages $1.5 billion and four million square feet of operating assets, with an additional $3.2 billion in projects under development. Comstock’s portfolio includes various retail and mixed-use developments, such as Reston Station, Loudoun Station, Rockville Station, and The Hartford at Clarendon Station. They have also developed the JW Marriott that overlooks Reston Row at the Silver Line Metro.
The relationship between Williams and Comstock Companies has drawn attention due to their ties and mutual support. The future of commercial casino development in Fairfax County remains uncertain, but with the support of influential figures and a prominent real estate developer, the prospect of a Las Vegas-style resort in the area continues to be a topic of interest.