Antilia is a 27-floor personal home in South Mumbai belonging to businessman Mukesh Ambani, who has Mukesh Ambani. Mukesh has a net worth of $21 billion, making him the richest person in India and the 19th richest person in the world. He is the chairman and CEO of the Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited, the foremost company of the Indian energy and materials conglomerate Reliance Group.
The building is named after the mythical Atlantic island of Antillia. Antillia, according to Aristotle, was a huge island in the Atlantic Ocean known to the Carthaginians.
The Antilia building is situated on an ocean-facing 4,532 square metres (48,780 sq ft) plot at Altamount Road, Cumballa Hill, South Mumbai, where land prices are upward of US$10,000 per square metre. In August 2008, Altamount Road was the 10th most expensive street in the world at US$25,000/sq m (US$2,336 per sq foot).
Antilia was designed by Chicago based architects, Perkins & Will. The Australia-based construction company Leighton Holdings began constructing it. The home has 27 floors with extra-high ceilings (other buildings of equivalent height may have as many as 60 floors). The home was also designed to survive an 8-richter scale earthquake.
The transactions surrounding the acquisition of the land on which this building is constructed, as well as various aspects of the construction and design of this building seem to raise significant issues of regulatory malfeasance and corruption among the various parties involved.
In 2002, this property was purchased by a Mukesh Ambani controlled entity – Antilia Commercial Private Limited from the Currimbhoy Ebrahimbhoy Khoja Trust, in direct contravention to section 51 of the Wakf Act.
This land was owned previously by the Currimbhoy Ebrahim Khoja Yateemkhana (Orphanage). This charitable institution had sold the land allocated for the purpose of education of underprivileged Khoja children to Antilia Commercial Private Limited in July 2002 for Rs 21.05 crore. The prevailing market value of land at the time was at least Rs.150 crore.
The Waqf minister Nawab Malik opposed this land sale and so did the revenue department of the Government of Maharashtra. Thus a stay order was issued on the sale of the land. Also, the Waqf board initially opposed this deal and filed a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the trust. The Supreme Court while dismissing the petition asked the Waqf board to approach the Bombay High court. However the stay on this deal was subsequently vacated after the Wakf board withdrew its objection on receiving an amount of 16 lakh from Antilia Commercial Pvt Ltd and issued a No Objection certificate.
In 2007 the Allahabad government said the structure is illegal because the land’s owner, the Waqf Board, had no right to sell it, as Waqf property can neither be sold nor transferred. Ambani then obtained a No Objection Certificate from the Waqf Board after paying Rs 16 lakh (U$36,100) and began construction. In June 2011, the Union government asked the Maharashtra government to consider referring the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
In regards to the three helipads, the Indian Navy said it will not allow the construction of helipads on Mumbai buildings, while the Environment Ministry said the helipads violate local noise laws. Issues have also been raised with regards to the construction of an illegal carpark.
Film screenings have been staged in its state-of-the-art theatre and dinners held in its grand ballroom, served by staff trained by the luxury Oberoi hotel chain.
But its owners return at the end of each party to their former ancestral home, never staying the night.
Vastu, a philosophy that guides Hindu temple architecture, emphasises the importance of facing the rising sun – and despite the staggering sum spent on Antilia the building’s eastern side does not have enough windows or other openings to let residents receive sufficient morning light.
Instead of moving into their dream home, the Ambanis continue to stay in the more modest, 14-storey apartment tower at the south end of the city that they share, on different floors, with the rest of their extended family.
Tushar Pania, a spokesman for Mr Ambani’s company Reliance Industries, dismissed questions about whether the family was reluctant to live at Antilia as idle gossip.
Last year, as it was nearing completion, many Mumbai residents criticised the building as an ostentatious display of wealth in a country where most people live on less than $2 a day.
Half a mile from Mr Ambani’s 27-storey tower, a competing skyscraper is making its way into Mumbai’s skyline.
Cost and valuation
Indian media has frequently reported that Antilia is the world’s most expensive home costing between US$1 and 2 billion.Thomas Johnson, director of marketing at architecture firm Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates that was consulted with by Reliance during building floor plan design, was cited by Forbes Magazine as estimating the cost of the residence at nearly $2 billion. In June 2008, a Reliance spokesman told The New York Times that it would cost $50–$70 million to build. Upon completion in 2010, media reports again speculated that, due to increasing land prices in the area, the tower may now be worth as much as US$1 billion.
The 570 foot tall monster of a “house” features a whopping 400,000 square feet of living space. It has 27 habitable floors, including six parking floors for capacity of up to 168 cars. Other features include numerous terraces, 9 elevators, a lobby, 50-seat home theater on the 8th floor, a ballroom with 80% of the ceiling covered in crystal chandeliers, ice room infused with artificial snow flurries, dance studio, three floors of hanging gardens, swimming pool, 3 helipads, air traffic control facility and the worlds largest collection of antique sewing machines. A staff of 600 maintain the home.