Friday, October 15, 2010

World’s most expensive billion-dollar home

World’s most expensive billion-dollar home

MUMBAI: India’s richest man has built what is said to be the world’s first billion-dollar home. Yes, that’s billion with a “B.”

Mukesh Ambani, his wife and three children plan a housewarming party for the 27-story Mumbai pad later this month. In addition to decadent food, attendees can glimpse three helipads, a health club, dance studio, 50-seat movie theater and underground parking lot with enough room for 160 cars, Indian media reported. An American firm oversaw the interior design.

The house didn’t cost $1 billion to build, of course, but construction did cost millions of dollars. Given Mumbai’s astronomical property prices, the finished product is worth many times the construction tab. That’s where the billion-dollar figure comes in.

The home is rumored to have a wait staff of 600, bigger than the staff of many small companies.

The house might be oversized, but it isn’t sprawling: It soars more than 550 feet, more resembling a condo tower than a luxurious mansion. Children might say it looks like Lego building blocks, media pointed out.

Ambani could have afforded to go even bigger. According to Forbes magazine, Ambani’s $29-billion fortune makes him the fourth-richest man in the world. He runs Reliance Industries, a textile company that grew into what it says is “India’s largest private sector enterprise.”

Not surprisingly, not everyone is a fan of the construction, which seems out of place in a country known for its poverty and slums. One local newspaper columnist labeled the building an “edifice to his ego,” while an editor of an Indian design magazine called it “obscenely lavish.”

But some stick up for the billionaire. “He can’t just walk into a cinema and watch a film like you or me,” the Guardian quotes an associate as saying. “So he has built a house to his requirements like anyone else would. It’s a question of convenience and requirements. It’s only a family home, just a big one. It’s just another home that someone is living in. It’s no big event.”

No big event at all.


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