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PODCAST: Listen To 'Let's Have A Drink' With Comstock CEO Chris Clemente

This is Bisnow's podcast series, "Let’s Have A Drink," where we sit down with the personalities who shape Washington, D.C., real estate — one of the most complex and affluent markets in the country. Hosted by Bisnow East Coast Editor Ethan Rothstein, we examine the deals, the disappointments and, of course, drinks of choice. You can subscribe on iTunesSpotify or listen on SoundCloud.

Comstock Partners CEO Chris Clemente
Comstock Partners CEO Chris Clemente at Bisnow's 2017 Loudoun County event

This week, Bisnow sat down over Heinekens with Chris Clemente, the CEO and founder of Comstock Cos., at The Palm restaurant in Tysons.

Clemente founded Comstock as a homebuilder when he was 25 years old, and before he was 30, the Savings and Loan crisis hit. After keeping his company afloat thanks to the invention of the ATM, he survived again through the Great Recession, all without declaring bankruptcy — even when he had advisers telling him he should.

"It was a point of pride," Clemente said. "It was not something that I was comfortable doing. And it was I didn't want to quit. So I just kept working on it. What I found was there was always a way to work through the tough times. If you're willing to roll up your sleeves and meet with the banks and keep the lawyers out of the way and just figure out how to make deals that made sense for everybody."

Comstock is building a handful of new high-rise buildings at Reston Station, its 20-acre development along Metro's new Silver Line. This year, Comstock signed anchor tenants to two office buildings it had already started building.

"It was pretty easy to see that there was a hole in the market developing in terms of demand, so we knew we had the property that could attract the kind of tenants that we were looking that we would need to make the project successful," he said. "And we knew that there was no product coming to market ... So it was pretty easy to determine that there was a contrarian play."