Downtown Container Park taking shape with installation of 40-foot, fire-breathing mantis

Courtesy The Downtown Project

An artist’s rendering of the shipping container development planned for Seventh and East Fremont.

Container Park Construction

The Mantis is seen after being installed at the Container Park downtown Friday, July 26, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Container Park, downtown's multi-spaced retail/restaurant/recreational facility at East Fremont and Seventh streets, is rapidly taking shape.

Construction crews on Friday delivered several new features for the half-block park, including a boxcar, caboose and metallic, 40-foot, fire-shooting praying mantis that will be erected near the entrance.

The project, which when completed will resemble a series of stacked cubes, was envisioned to be made of shipping containers but was redesigned to include primarily prefabricated structures.

It is the brainchild of the Downtown Project, which has committed $350 million toward real estate, education, small business, technology and entertainment downtown. Investors include Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

When finished, the mall is slated to have space for 30 to 40 businesses. Five restaurants and bars already have signed on.

The park still has open space available, and operators say owners of small, local retail businesses, from walk-up food windows to fashion stores, are welcome to express interest.

The Downtown Project hopes to have Container Park open for business by Oct. 26, the first day of the two-day Life Is Beautiful festival, which will encompass 15 blocks downtown.

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