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Mica Mall Mega Project, A Long Dream Coming True

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Leaders of Pars Mica Kish (parsmicakish.com), a brand in the competitive construction industry, had long dreamed of building a unique entertainment and retail center that would be different from the existing shopping malls on the planet.

Their group vision was not simply to build a large retail shopping mall but a giant and magnificent center that would respond to the modern needs of all visitors. That’s why the project was designed to be more of an entertainment center than a shopping mall.

Kish Island, an eco-friendly and tourist destination in the Persian Gulf and a Free Trade Zone, was seen as a promising land for the ambitious project.

The tiny island, known for its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, relax environment, scuba-diving, luxury yachts and jet-skis, currently attracts 1.5 million tourists a year. Famed as a tourist jewel with a paradisiacal climate and landscape, Kish has become a hotbed of consumerism.

Foreign tourists don’t need visa to visit the island. The coral reefs on the island are one of the most diverse of all marine ecosystems adding to its elegance. And the natural wildlife on the island is very splendid.

With tourism development being the central policy in Kish, most of the projects are related to tourism and recreation.

The fabulous attractions left Pars Mica Kish leaders in no doubt that Kish is their promised land to turn their long dream into reality. But first, they needed to test the waters before engaging in their grand project. So, they began to build a magnificent administrative and residential complex in Kish in 2003.

With the project proving to be a success, then they decided that it’s time to embark on their most ambitious project of all.

The group worked hard for years to identify the shortages and requirements in the tourist island, studied and explored the biggest and most attractive shopping malls existing in different corners of the planet, got the best out of them and then began to build a recreational and shopping center with added features that would be a new event.

Entertainment Matters More Than Shopping

In today’s world, a retail center alone doesn’t attract visitors anymore. Entertainment matters more than shopping nowadays. That’s why shopping malls have changed across the globe. The role shopping malls play in people’s lives has been reshaped dramatically somehow in the same way that Internet has transformed virtually every aspect of our lives.

Shopping malls in Kish were merely retail centers without any entertainment features. So, the Mica team embarked on an ambitious development project that would be capable of fully occupying the entire time a family would spend on a holiday; a place that will attract all including art lovers, food lovers, cinema-goers and children.

The goal is to turn Mica Mall (micamall.com) a prime destination for recreation and shopping. It has been designed to become a retail and leisure pioneer in Iran. It has been constructed to bring a new meaning to business and turn Kish into a paradise for families and holiday goers.

“We designed to build a place that would offer everything members of a family would need during a 3-day trip to Kish and meet their shopping and leisure needs. The goal is to provide customers a memorable experience during their stay in Kish and turn Mica Mall into the most popular shopping destination in Iran,” Omid Keshtkar, a senior Mica Mall manager, told the Iran Europe Business Digest (IEBD) in an exclusive interview recently in his office in Kish.

The group began construction of Mica Mall in 2011 only after 8 years of extensive research and large-scale planning.

“Our key target is to attract Iran’s 80-million-population to Kish. The intention is to bring them comfort and memorable moments,” he said. “Our scheme was to turn Kish into a distinguished city. And the solution was to bring splendid entertainment, pleasure and recreation to the tourist island.”

More than half of Iran’s population is under 35 years of age, many of them with high levels of education. Smart phone usage is universal in Iran while the large youth population is in search of modern entertainment. That makes Mica Mall a great solution.

Keshtkar described Mica Mall a majestic response to what Kish Island needs today.

Iranians are fond of shopping. The absence of high-quality shopping malls and lack of first-rate entertainment facilities of global standards in Iran had prompted wealthy Iranians to go abroad for recreation and shopping.

Mica Mall Is Not Just a Mall

Mica Mall is now in the final stages of construction and will be Kish’s largest shopping and entertainment center, a new event of its kind in Iran.

The entrepreneur portrays his leisure resort as a consumer haven offering a wide variety of services to satisfy the needs of all visitors from entertainment to sports, from shopping to food and beverage courts, from art and cinema halls to innovative leisure facilities such as passenger cable car, vertical wind tunnel, rainforest, ice skating rink, snow room, aquarium, amusement center, bowling, gym and spa, children play center, car parking, and many more.

The priority for Mica Mall leaders in this ambitious project has been to build an inspiring structure with global standards.

Mica Mall will be a unique entertainment center since most of these activities are being introduced for the first time not only in Kish but in Iran and the entire region.

“Our motto is this: Mica Mall is not just a mall,” Keshtkar said.

Iranian investors, entrepreneurs, businessmen, hotel owners, tour operators as well as government officials all hope that the enormous Mica Mall commercial and entertaining center will help reinvigorate tourism in Kish. Kish authorities are already expanding the island’s airport and have set the goal of annually attracting 5 million tourists by 2025 and Keshtkar’s mega project will be a hunter to achieve that goal. Local officials admitted that the 5-million-tourist goal could not be achieved without carrying out adequate infrastructure projects and creating entertainment facilities.

Development of Mica Mall is already leading to a new wave of inward private investment into Kish, including construction of new 5-star hotels in the tourist island.

The real estate tycoon and his team have so far invested more than 15 trillion rials ($357 million) into the project in partnership with banks. Mica Mall has contracted with Al Ahmadiah Contracting and Trading, a leading UAE construction company, to carry out the monumental project.

In addition to a team of consultants and contractors, McArthur Company, a branding agency specialized in shopping malls, has collaborated with the resort, providing management and leadership.

Keshtkar’s group has also signed contracts with leading global companies to create its entertainment facilities and compelling retail destinations. And global names have subcontracted the smaller projects to favorite firms.

Mica Mall is being constructed on a land of 34,400 square meters in five levels, just 120 meters away from the crystal waters of the beach. The 5-story retail and entertainment complex has also two levels of car parking underneath, enough space for over 1,000 cars.

Scheduled to open in 2019, the mammoth Mica Mall has been designed by DSA Architects International and Bentel Associates International of South Africa and will feature more than 500 stores, services and entertainment attractions.

Of a total of 202,000 square meters of project infrastructure, some 70,000 square meters are devoted to retail stores and food courts, ranging from 50 to 1,500 square meters in size each. That means goods worth 20 trillion rials ($476) are required to fill the stores while an equal amount worth of goods will be needed as backup for the retail stores alone.

Over 18,000 square meters have been devoted to entertainment alone.

In addition to offering a host of entertainment attractions, Mica Mall has already contracted to bring in international business brands, offering wealthy Iranian families an option to do their shopping in Kish rather than travelling abroad.

A Gateway to the Iranian Market

Keshtkar said through superb design enriched with innovative technology, his resort has created vibrant retail environments that will offer great experiences, choice and distinctiveness. He argued that his grand project brings modernization to Iran, reflecting the promising prospects in Iran’s growing market.

“We decided to build a place that would bring in international brands and upgrade Kish Island as a tourist destination so that Iranians would do shopping in Kish instead of going abroad,” he insisted.

Mohammad Reza Saeedi, a senior local government official, told the IEBD that Mica Mall will be “the engine of tourism” and “a tourist magnet” inviting Iranian and foreign tourists to the island provided that it will carry on to employ talented experts and keep up with the global speed in research and development as well as marketing.

Others have described Mica Mall a “gateway” to the Iranian market and “the heart of commerce and entertainment in Kish Island.”

 Kish, an Adventurous Place for Tourists to Explore

Kish Island is an adventurous place for tourists to explore. Direct flights from Dubai, Turkey, Iraq and Oman take foreign tourists to Kish. The crystal blue waters, the warm sunny beach and the silver sand create distinctive view of the island. Under the water, tourists see a grand luxurious museum to explore.

No list of reasons why you should invest in Kish would be complete without mentioning its great natural beauty, blue waters and sand beaches.

The island is widely described as a natural aquarium because of the limpid and crystalline water and colorful fishes. Scuba diving provides a great opportunity to tourists to experience viewing corals, various colorful fishes and aquatic species under the water at a depth of just several meters while other watersports such as jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, boating, balloon playing, and fishing create memorable moments for every visitor and holiday-maker. The water is so clear that fish can be seen swimming in the sea all year long.

Four-Start Cable Car

From the shore, Mica Mall serves its guests. The resort’s four-star cable car picks tourists from the beach, takes them on a bird-eye tour of the magnificent landscape, goes through three stations on the route and finally enters the complex from the 4th floor of the mall.

The cable car machines have been manufactured by Bartholet Maschinenbau AG BMF, a leading Swiss company in the fields of aerial cableway systems and high-tech aerial passenger transport systems. And the cabins have been designed by Porsche Design Studio, a leading Germany company known for its creative services.

The cable car doesn’t travel the 3-kilometer-long route in a straight line from the shores to the mall. It turns by 89 degrees half the way before reaching the mall. The cars are equipped with exciting features such as thrilling light, free Internet, air conditioning, LCD screen, music and furniture.

Then, visitors are stunned with state-of-the-art recreational facilities inside the climate-controlled complex where they can go for eating or drinking, ice skating, or riding escalators or elevators to reach the sprawling department stores or other entertainment facilities.

Smart Management System

Mica Mall has already outsourced post-opening management to qualified global firms based on smart management systems. It will be a digital entertainment and shopping center. From its monitor video walls to its digital wayfinding systems, the resort is producing some of the most innovative digital features anywhere in the world.

The magnate calls his resort “invention of a new kind of Iranian town” and “repurposing the real estate.”

Easy Rules to Do Business in Kish

Easy rules, strategic location, access to free international waters, closeness to major ports and cities in the Persian Gulf region, independent air lines and shipping lines capable of carrying vehicles, high level of social security and appropriate intercity transportation facilities are among magnets attracting potential foreign investors to Kish.

Expansion of Kish airport and construction of a new terminal with a capacity to accommodate over 4 million passengers is just one of the modern infrastructure projects promising a prosperous future for business in Kish and turning the island into a global tourist-business center. The new terminal is expected to become operational by the end of 2018.

Additionally, 20-year tax exemption for any kind of legitimate business activity, legal guarantee for foreign investment, simple formalities for re-exports and product transit, export of products abroad without customs and port duties are among other advantages in Kish that have turned Mica Mall into an attractive showroom for international brands.

The magnificent features at the resort itself are major magnets attracting investors and those in search of profitable business.

The complex will have 5 entrances, one being a VIP entrance.

Indoor Rainforst

Mica Mall’s indoor rainforest provides a special atmosphere; with a focus on superb service and a wide range of great facilities to satisfy all visitors.

 Vertical Wind Tunnel

Mica Mall’s wind tunnel is an innovative vertical tunnel taking visitors to a fascinating experience. The wind tunnel (in the second floor) would be a fully transparent glass flight chamber for customer entertainment.

The unique wind tunnel gives adventurers the feeling of experiencing a flight in the wind and a free fall thrill. Once you are inside the tunnel after being equipped with safety features, wind blows from below in a vertical column and you will be floating in the air.

Aerodium, a company based in Latvia, has built the wind tunnel. It’s a world leader in the production of vertical wind tunnels.

Penguins at Mica Mall

One captivating feature of the resort would be an exciting and delightful space devoted to penguins where visitors can enjoy their time watching the aquatic, flightless birds in a pleasant environment. Nature lovers would be delighted to discover the wonders of nature and even touch the penguins.

Aquarium

Its aquarium will display a variety of enormous and mesmerizing fish, providing memorable moments for the guests. A glass elevator will take passengers up and down in a cylindrical column providing them a chance to enjoy watching the creatures in the water from behind the glass. The aquarium contains 1.5 million liters of water. Visitors would also have the chance to swim in the aquarium and get close to the strange creatures. The aquarium has been designed, built and installed by Clax Italia.

Bringing Memorable Moments for Both Families & Individuals

Restaurants, food courts, beverage facilities, cafes, hyper market, gym, spa and many other exciting and recreational activities are available for visitors of all ages in order to give them an unforgettable, pleasant experience.

Mica Mall has a host of entertainment attractions to suit every style of traveler, from couples to family groups to young individuals on a budget.

The resort has designed its facilities to make sure that visitors will return to Mica Mall to enjoy life and share distinguished moments again and again.

 Watching 3D Films at Cinema

The advanced cinema complex at Mica Mall has been designed to bring thrilling moments for visitors, young and old. The 3D films showed at its screens appear to the viewer to be three-dimensional. Its VIP cinema hall provides even a more relax environment and has amenities for the comfort and convenience of visitors during break time. The cinema complex has been designed by Enarmono, a Greek telecommunication service provider.

Spa Treatment Center

Visitors can also enjoy the spa treatment center that includes massage therapy as well as beauty and nail salons.

Spa therapy teams provide a relaxed environment for guests, eliminating stress and bringing comfort. Their services might combine several different treatments: a body scrub followed by a massage and a mini-facial, for instance.

Olympic-Sized Ice Skating Rink

Mica Mall indoor ice skating rink brings your dreams into reality if you are fond of winter sports. It’s an Olympic-sized rink designed by the famed Italian company, Industrial Frigo, in partnership with the Belgium-based KCC, a leading company in the entertainment sector.

Bowling Alley

Its bowling alley brings enjoyable moments to families and other groups of all ages. And its amusement park offers a thrilling environment to visitors, specifically children, who can engage in exciting activities.

The landscape lighting at Mica Mall has been designed by Light Touch, a company based in the United Kingdom.

Training Managers for the Future

Mica Mall leaders are already engaged in training talented managers for the future.

Keshtkar argues that the future of Kish will depend on success or failure of Mica Mall. And to make sure that it will survive the global business challenges, he and his team are giving human resources a top priority. He believes training 40 qualified managers will insure the success of his project and Kish. His intention is to turn Mica into a prestigious global brand.

To attract more visitors, Mica Mall will be open 18 hours a day, until after midnight. That means the tycoon and his group have plans for every tourist’s dead time.

The business magnate is considering launching an airline, Mica Air, and a university to teach tourism and mall management.

Mammoth Task

Speaking of his construction journey, Keshtkar spoke of insurmountable technical challenges his engineers had to conquer while carrying out the project.

“Concrete will lose its quality if made in temperatures of over 32 degrees centigrade (or Celsius). In Kish, temperatures reach even 50 degrees in summer. So, we imported 2,000 ice blocks in two refrigerated trucks (1,000 ice blocks in each truck) a day from the mainland, crushed them and mixed them with cement and coarse aggregate to keep temperature below 32 degrees and make quality concrete,” he said.

That would be an important element to build a strong structure resistant to earthquake, the magnate insisted.

Keshtkar said a total of 175,000 cubic meters of concrete and iron bar have been used in this project.

“It’s more than three times the concrete and iron bar used to build Milad Tower,” he noted. Milad Tower is the sixth-tallest tower and the 24th-tallest freestanding structure in the world in the Iranian capital of Tehran.

The tycoon said his resort needed to employ specific technology to build a cable car turning 89 degrees half the way. But the bigger challenge for engineers was how to get rid of vibration as the cable car travels and arrives at the mall.

It’s a fact that cable cars generate vibration and noise. Four civil engineers, according to Keshtkar, worked for two and a half years to find a solution. A specific vibration absorber technique was applied after “millions of computer calculations.” Additionally, specific elastic springs capable of resisting 250 tons of loading each were put to use. During building the foundation, 92 damping systems as well as acoustic materials were employed to get rid of the vibration.

The roof of the 4th floor at Mica Mall has been insulated, too, to absorb noise and vibration while cable cars arrive at the mall. The advanced insulation system has been installed by G+H Group, a German company known for its reliability in the field.

“It will be the most luxurious passenger cable car in the Middle East,” he boasted.

Digital Car Parking, Mobile App

Keshtkar also spoke of the mammoth technical challenges in building a 2-story car parking beneath the resort. Because of its proximity to sea, water streamed out just two and a half meters underground. Workers needed to dig the ground 9.5 meters deep to create enough space to build two levels of car parking. That meant engineers had to tackle tough challenges since water would pour into the workshop as they went down.

“We dug 53 wells. And 53 pumps worked non-stop for 36 months to allow workers and technicians to go down and at the same time employ specific delicate techniques not to allow water back into the workshop.

Visitors to Mica Mall will have the option to book car parking space digitally even before they arrive in Kish. The resort is also planning to launch a mobile app loaded with features such as a smart-park system capable of screening license plates of users and logging their parking space as well as a smart-map function for use within the mall. The mobile app also allows visitors to order food.

The fascinating features simply demonstrate a glimpse of Mica Mall’s desire to invest in the digital age since mobile app technology is turning smartphone users into smart shoppers as well.

Mica Mall is also looking to the future and has shown interest in voice-recognition technology since they see it as an important technology element in the next stage of shopping. Launching mobile apps that recognize color, style, patterns and other attributes through a phone’s camera are also being considered.

Base Isolation

Technique

Keshtkar also elaborated on base isolation technique employed at Mica Mall to prevent or minimize damage during an earthquake. That means the structure is built isolated from the ground and rests on flexible bearings or pads, known as base isolators. Instead of being a fixed based building, it’s a base isolated building. The structure has been designed and built to resist up to a 7-magnitude earthquake. That’s an important element since Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes.

He said Mica Mall’s above the ground structure is made of seven separate buildings connected together through corbel technique.

Keshtkar said engineers applied the arch-like corbel construction method to span a space or void in the structure to make Mica Mall more resistant to earthquake. All these features, he said, has effectively turned his resort into an earthquake-resistant structure.

A Mall for Over 100 years

The magnate said the wind tunnel at Mica Mall will consume one megawatt of electricity alone. The wind will blow with a speed of 220 to 270 kilometers per hour, using electrical engines.

Some 36 air handling units equipped with sensors, 36 escalators and 19 elevators will make sure that visitors will enjoy a comfortable stay at the mall.

He predicted Mica Mall’s lifetime at over “100 years.”

Some 3,000 laborers, mostly from India, worked at the complex at its peak. Currently, some 1,000 foreign workers and 100 Iranian engineers are at work to put the finishing touches prior to inauguration of the complex.

Bringing a New Culture of Business

Keshtkar said between 2,000 and 2,500 people will work at Mica Mall once it opens in 2019. That means he and his team members are now preparing to deliver on their goal of bringing a unique and world-class entertainment center in Western Asia.

“Mica Mall is bringing a new culture of business to Kish. It’s upgrading the island’s business and recreational environment,” he declared.

The magnate appeared satisfied that he and his team finally are going to harvest the fruit of many years of hard work in 2019.

“A social responsibility to bring development, joy and entertainment to our motherland and materialize childhood dreams were a combination of our logic behind Mica Mall,” he said. “

Iran-Europe Business Digest (IEBD) magazine has been launched to facilitate and promote business between Iran and Europe. 

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