D.C. United executives and District officials have reached a preliminary $300 million deal to build a 20000-seat stadium for the team on Buzzard Point in Southwest Washington.

The agreement team and city leaders said could end a decade-long search by the Major League Soccer franchise for a new venue that would allow it to leave RFK Stadium where D.C. United has played since its founding in 1996 but where its investors say the team loses money every year.

The project also would mark an economic development achievement for Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) as he weighs a run for reelection next year. Plotted between Half and Second streets SW just south of Potomac Avenue a few blocks southwest of Nationals Park the stadium would add another link in a chain of developments along the city’s waterfront.
Unlike previous mayors who considered stadium options to keep the team from relocating Gray enjoys a stable budget outlook and a negotiating partner in the team’s new investors who say they can help finance the project.

But the plan hinges on a series of proposed land swaps and development projects across the city that could lead to political and logistical land mines. And persuading District residents and lawmakers to back the deal is likely to open old wounds over the divisive fight to build Nationals Park which the District financed entirely.

City Administrator Allen Y. Lew who negotiated the deal for the mayor said the project has more in common with the construction of Verizon Center downtown — a privately financed stadium enabled by government spending on land and infrastructure.

With the city planning a new streetcar line and a $600 million realignment of Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge nearby Lew said the soccer stadium could do for the west side of South Capitol Street what Nationals Park has done on the east.

“Our vision is that we would have two great stadiums on this side of the bridge” said Lew who spoke to The Washington Post ahead of a formal announcement on Thursday.