New D.C. United stadium to be built in Southwest Washington

The stadium in Southwest will be complete by 2016, officials say. Photo: D.C. United

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJLA) - After years of starts, stops and ultimately failed plans to build a new soccer-specific stadium for D.C. United, the club and Mayor Vincent Gray announced Thursday plans for a brand new home for the team in Southwest.

Gray and club officials say they have a reached a tentative $300 million deal to build a 20,000-seat stadium in the Buzzard Point area of Southwest, several blocks west of Nationals Park.

The stadium will be ready for the team to move into by 2016.

"We're not constructing the stadium. The stadium is being constructed by D.C. United,” Mayor Gray says. “And if the stadium costs more at the end of the day, it will be on D.C. United's nickel, not the taxpayers of the city."

The agreement to build the stadium is contingent on the District acquiring the land for the stadium, which is bounded by Half, Second, R and T streets Southwest, in a swap for several city owned buildings.

One of those buildings is the Frank D. Reeves Center for Municipal Affairs. Located at 2000 14th Street NW, the Reevers Center houses multiple public and private agencies that will be relocated to a facility in Anacostia.

Landowners here include Pepco, the Kastles tennis team and Akridge development. All are on board with the plan. Akridge plans to swap its two acres for the city's Reeves Center in up-and-coming northwest D.C.

"I think this is a dream location,"{ }D.C. United managing partner Jason Levien says. “We're creating a new sports entertainment district for city."

The team has played at RFK Stadium since its founding in 1996, but investors say they lose money there every year.

City Administrator Allen Lew says with a planned streetcar line and the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge realignment, it's hoped the stadium will boost the west side of South Capitol Street as Nationals Park has boosted the east.

A charter franchise in MLS, D.C. United is one of the most decorated teams in the league. They captured three of the first four MLS Cup titles in 1996, 1997 and 1999, and won their fourth in 2004.

The club has struggled to a 2-14-4 record this year, a season after reaching the Eastern Conference Final.

"I love RFK it's a great old building, I have had some wonderful memories there,” says D.C. United coach Ben Olsen. “I cherish the building, but it's time to move. It's time to get out of there and a find a new home for this club."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.