MUMBAI, India, Jan. 29, 2008 — -- Up a winding, tree-lined street away from the constant chaos of India's financial capital lies the construction site for what is believed to be the most expensive home in the world.
The house -- more like a tower, really -- is estimated to cost $1 billion, and its future resident, Mukesh Ambani, is India's richest man.
And what will make up the dream home of the man who Conde Nast's Portfolio magazine calls India's first rupee trillionaire? Perhaps it would be easier to answer what it doesn't have, because the dream home seems to be missing nothing.
Publications ranging from Portfolio to the The Guardian have run features on the skyscraper home, citing various amenities, which include, of course, a swimming pool, multiple "safe" rooms and 600 servants. Along with a health club, the abode will reportedly have a home theater and a helipad, and the tower will include six floors for 168 car parking spaces.
At 570 feet tall, the home's 27 stories will look more like 60 because the ceilings are so high, according to The Guardian.
All of this for one family consisting of Ambani, his wife, Neeta, their three children and Ambiani's mother.
The glass house -- named Antilia after a mythical island -- was designed by Chicago architecture firm Perkins & Will.
In a city where about 6 million people live in slums, where apartments that rent for $20,000 a month can claim views of both the Arabian Sea and homeless people relieving themselves, where the rich live among their poor servants, Ambani's display of wealth has drawn criticism.
One local newspaper columnist called it "an edifice to his ego." Others have likened Ambani to ostentatious and wasteful Indian rulers of the past.
Forbes magazine has listed Ambiani -- with a net worth of $22 billion -- as the 14th-wealthiest man in the world, whose Reliance Industries Ltd. is India's largest private companyr. In November, the Mumbai Mirror reported he bought his wife a luxury jet -- estimated at $60 million -- for her 44th birthday.
But outside the construction site, where a crane hovers above the concrete and steel, and workers ride elevators to reach the upper levels, it seems that Ambani's wealth is not resented but revered.
"We are proud of him," said Bhavanesh Asar, a 30-year-old IT project manager.
What about the fact that it is so big? So high? So … ostentatiously large for such a small family?
Asar shook off the criticism. He pointed to a neighboring apartment building that also towered above the trees.
"He has money. Why not? Bill Gates lives on a 58-acre property for one family. [Ambani] has funds, so why not?" he said.
Suruinder Singh, 31, who lives in the neighborhood, echoed the opinion.
"If you have the idea and you have the funds, then go for it. Why not?" he said.
The home is expected to be ready for the Ambanis to move into next year. Currently, the family lives in a mere 14-story building called Sea Wind.