Deal for Major League Soccer stadium approved by Washington, D.C.

Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:30pm EST
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By John Clarke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The District of Columbia Council on Wednesday formally approved a deal worth more than $300 million to build a stadium for D.C. United, the city's Major League Soccer franchise.

The agreement to build the 20,000-seat venue was approved unanimously.

The District of Columbia is contributing about $150 million to acquire land for the stadium on Buzzard Point in southwest Washington and is providing about $43 million in tax breaks. The team will spend about $150 million to build the stadium, which is scheduled to open in time for the 2017 season. 

Mayor Vincent Gray has touted the deal as further spurring economic development near the gritty Anacostia River waterfront, an area that has boomed around Major League Baseball's Nationals Park.

City officials have said the stadium's benefits include 2,000 new jobs, $2.3 billion in economic activity and more than $100 million in net revenue for the U.S. capital.

D.C. United is the most successful Major League Soccer team, winning 13 domestic and international titles over its history, according to the club's website. The team currently plays in RFK Stadium, which opened in 1961.

The club is owned by Indonesian media entrepreneur and sports investor Erick Thorir, who also holds a controlling stake in Italian Serie A side Inter Milan.

(Reporting by Frank McGurty; Editing by Bill Trott)