NORTH LAWNDALE — An Army veteran is opening a sports bar in North Lawndale and stepping into her family’s business with help from a city grant.
Shatondrea Cox received a $184,000 Community Development Grant to open 14Forty Sports Grill and Bar, 1440 S. Kedzie Ave. She recently announced her plan to open in September.
Cox said she had to apply to the grant three times before she got it — but now, she’s reclaiming a building that had been in her family for years.
The building, which was once called Enterprise, was one of several bars Cox said her family ran in the neighborhood, she said. She worked at Enterprise before the bar closed in 2017.
Before Enterprise, Cox’s grandparents owned the building and ran it as a bar under a different name in the ’80s, she said. And her aunts and uncles have all owned bars.
Cox was among 79 winners chosen for the grant out of 612 applicants, said Peter Strazzabosco, deputy commissioner for the city’s planning and development department. The grant will cover 75 percent of construction costs for the bar.
Cox has been in the Army for 20 years and is now in the Reserves, working as a financial analyst. Raised in North Lawndale, she wants to open the bar to bring an entertainment and dining experience to North Lawndale residents.
“I just want to bring the community back, because I remember, as a little girl, we could cross the street to get to anywhere that we wanted,” Cox said. “We need to bring stuff back to our community so we don’t have to go outside of our community for these things. It would be extremely empowering.”
The grant Cox received is part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, a citywide economic plan to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic recover or establish themselves.
Sophia Carey, a senior recovery team program manager for the Department of Planning and Development, said Cox’s bar plan was given a grant because it will open in an area lacking in investments, as well as Cox’s dedication to the community.
“Based on the application she gave us, she’ll have a unique operation for the area,” Carey said. “For certain residents, it’s unfair that they have to leave their own neighborhood to have a good time with their friends and family. She’s been working on this for years, and that shows her perseverance.”
Cox plans to hire 12-16 workers.
Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: