The mayor's office for economic development is expected to begin the bidding process next week for a feasibility study for the new football stadium that Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke is seeking, sources said yesterday.

"I'm not as pleased as I would be if they were turning sod and getting ready to lay a foundation," Cooke said in a telephone interview from his Middleburg, Va., office. "But I'm rather pleased. I do want the stadium in the District of Columbia, if possible."

Shortly before the beginning of this season, Cooke appealed to one of the area's jurisdictions, preferably the District of Columbia, to come forward and offer to build a domed, football-only stadium for the Redskins, whose lease at RFK Stadium will expire in 1990. Yesterday, he appeared to dismiss the alternative, an expansion of RFK.

"We have a first-class team here," he said. "We must have a new stadium. Visiting other stadiums this season, I'm not envious of them, but I know it has to be done."

RFK, which seats 55,750 for football, has the third-smallest seating capacity in the National Football League and is one of only two stadiums -- the Los Angeles Coliseum is the other -- without luxury suites. Unlike regular seating, revenues from which are shared with the visiting team, the home team keeps all income from luxury suites.

In addition to talking with District Mayor Marion Barry and his staff, Cooke has talked with officials from Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, among others. He has declined to discuss the substance of those conversations with those localities, maintaining his preference is to remain in the city.

"I want {a new stadium} so desperately in the District of Columbia," he said. "That is far and away my first choice. However, if the District of Columbia fails to build what Redskins fans deserve, I have no other choice than to go to one of the surrounding counties and I'm sure one of them will provide the kind of facility the area deserves."

In addition to RFK's seating capacity, he says that the stadium's configuration is not good for football.

"I'm tired of playing in a stadium that's ill-suited for football, but which is ideal for baseball," he said. "And in this instance the twain ain't going to meet."

Details on the bidding process for the feasibility study were not available. Barry's aides in this area did not return phone calls yesterday.

Loudoun County supervisor Steven W. Stockman (I-Broad Run) said yesterday that a consortium of private interests in the county remains interested in building a stadium there but that no final plan has been developed. "We're still active," he said, adding that the playoffs and the holidays have delayed the process.

Stockman has declined to identify potential investors or describe how the stadium might be financed.

Staff writer John Lancaster contributed to this report.