Like the legendary island that it is supposedly named for, billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s massive new home, Antilia, seems to have a lot of myth and misinformation swirling around it.
The latest surge in interest in the 27-storey home that towers over Mumbai’s toniest neighborhood, was triggered after a local report that India’s richest man would at last be holding a house warming party and puja on Oct. 28.
Papers and websites from Singapore to Scotland (and yes, a WSJ blog) used the report as a reason dig up all the old “facts” on the vertical mansion, which looks at first glance like an unstable stack of books. Unfortunately, according to people familiar with the building and the party, many have been getting the details wrong.
The party isn’t until Nov. 28, the home won’t have 600 servants as has been frequently reported for years and the building isn’t worth billions (though if you divided it into separate apartments, sold every square foot at the going rate and the rate was not affected by this hypothetical tsunami of new luxury spaces in that neighborhood, it might sell for that much). One report even suggested that the building may not actually be called Antilia.
On Nov. 28, the 200 or so friends and family members lucky enough to get the golden ticket to see inside Mr. Ambani’s chocolate factory will be entertained by the billionaire and his wife as well as by tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, say people familiar with the party plans. It will be a cozy gathering as with 27 floors there will be less than eight people per floor. It’s likely more people will get to see U.S. President Barack Obama in person during his visit to Mumbai next month, than get invited to see the inside of the Antilia (or whatever it is called).
And of course not all the reports are false. In addition to unimpeded views of the city and the Arabian Sea, the building has the helipads, home theater, gym, gardens and pool that every self-respecting billionaire requires.
While far from the frantic pace of construction and clean up in New Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games last month, construction crews seemed to be putting the finishing touches on the building this week.
One construction worker seemed to be counting the many western-facing windows of front of the building. On the southern side of the building they were putting up a movie-screen sized wall that will keep Mr. Ambani’s neighbors from peeking into his yard. And along Altamount Road—an address long favored by the city’s rich and famous—lies a feature rarer than a helipad or a six-storey garage, a luxury almost unheard of in India’s richest city: a front lawn covered with freshly-laid sod.