15 October 2010

The most expensive residence in the world

According to The Times of India (reported by Reeba Zachariah), Mr Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, India's largest private sector company, with a personal estimated wealth of US$27 billion, is set to move into his new mansion. With a price nearing US$1 billion and named Antilia,
the 27-storey building completed after seven years of labour, has three helipads on the top floor and has been billed as the most opulent home of an individual anywhere in the world.

The glass tower that stands 570 feet tall features a swimming pool, a health club, a salon and a mini-theatre. The first six levels comprise the garage where more than 160 cars can be parked. Atop the parking lot is Antilia's lobby, which has nine elevators.

The lobby leads to numerous lounges, powder rooms and a ballroom. The top floors, with a sweeping view of the city, are where the 53-year old business magnate, his wife Nita and children Akash, Anant and Isha will reside.
Further reported in The Times (republished in The Australian), Rhys Blakely made a poignant observation
Looking over a city where more than half the population lives in slums, it is a soaring monument to the growing chasm dividing India's rich and poor.

For many, however, the gleaming tower will be an uncomfortable reminder that India's economic renaissance has delivered extraordinary benefits to a handful of hugely wealthy "Bollygarchs" but little to the 800 million Indians who live on not much more than $2 a day.

Mumbai suffers from a chronic shortage of quality homes, and visitors arriving at its airport are greeted by a seemingly endless patchwork of mottled tin and blue tarpaulin - the construction materials of the city's slum-builders. For decades, the slums have existed next to the luxurious bungalows and high-rises of India's super-rich - but not even the maharajas of past centuries exhibited the opulence of Mukesh Ambani, critics say.
Yes.  It is possible to have too much money. Such ostentatious displays of wealth in the face of poverty is a matter for residents of Mumbai to discuss.

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