Antilia is a private home in South Mumbai. It is owned by Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, and includes a staff of 600 to maintain the residence 24/7.
As of November 2014, it is deemed to be the world's most expensive residential property, after Buckingham Palace, which is designated as a crown property. It is thus the world's most expensive private residential property, valued at $1 billion. Its unique design make it clearly distinguished in the Mumbai skyline.
It is located on the prestigious Altamount Road, Cumballa Hill. It has around 600 rooms.
The building is named after the mythic island Antillia (with two 'L's).
Antilia was designed by Chicago-based architects Perkins and Will, with the Australian-based construction company Leighton Holdings taking charge of its construction. 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.
In 2005, this property was purchased by a Mukesh Ambani-controlled entity, Muffin-Antilia Commercial Private Limited from the Currimbhoy Ebrahim Khoja Trust, in direct contravention of § 51 of the Wakf Act.
The 4532sqm plot of land had been previously owned by the Currimbhoy Ebrahim Khoja Yateemkhana (an 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 ₹210.5 million (US$3.1 million). The prevailing market value of the land at the time was at least ₹1.5 billion (US$22 million).
The Waqf minister Nawab Malik opposed this land sale, as did the revenue department of the Government of Maharashtra. Thus a stay order was issued on the sale of the land. The Waqf board also initially opposed the 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 the deal was subsequently vacated after the Waqf board withdrew its objection on receiving an amount of ₹1.6 million (US$24,000) from Antilia Commercial Pvt Ltd, and it 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 ₹ 1.6 million 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, following a representation from Awaaz Foundation, said the helipads violate local noise laws. Issues have also been raised with regards to the construction of an illegal car park.
In 2011 it was reported that Ambani had yet to move in to the home, despite its completion, for fear of "bad luck". According to Basannt R. Rasiwasia, an expert in Vastu shastra, claims the home does not conform to Vastu requirements. However, Ambani later confirmed that his family had been living there since about September 2011.
The Indian media have frequently reported that Antilia is the world's most expensive home, costing approximately US $1 billion. Thomas Johnson, director of marketing at architecture firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (consulted by Reliance during the design of the building's floor plan) told Forbes magazine the residence cost nearly $1 billion.
In June 2008, The New York Times reported that it would cost $50–$70 million to build. But it cost nearly $1 billion with combined rates of land on which it was built.
Some Indians are proud of the "ostentatious house", while others see it as "shameful in a nation where many children go hungry". Dipankar Gupta, a sociologist at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, opined that "such wealth can be inconceivable" not only in Mumbai, "home to some of the Asia's worst slums", but also in a nation with 42 percent of the world's underweight children younger than five.
Tata Group former chairman Ratan Tata said Antilia is an example of rich Indians' lack of empathy for the poor. Tata also said: "The person who lives in there should be concerned about what he sees around him and asking can he make a difference. If he is not, then it's sad because this country needs people to allocate some of their enormous wealth to finding ways of mitigating the hardship that people have.". "It makes me wonder why someone would do that. That's what revolutions are made of,".
Author activist and trained architect Arundhati Roy wondered if by calling their tower Antilia, the "Ambanis hope to sever their links to the poverty and squalor of their homeland and raise a new civilisation?"