(From left) Mukesh Ambani’s residence Antilla, Gautam Singhania’s under-construction tower home and the Kasliwal brothers’ Palais Royale in Mumbai. (Fotocorp pictures)
Mumbai, April 8: Sky is the limit when Mumbai’s billionaires decide to build an exclusive house.
Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey mansion Antilla in the heart of the city was the first private skyscraper.
Now, the flamboyant Gautam Singhania — the Raymond Group boss who loves his yachts and his horses — is getting ready to join the race.
Gautam, his wife Nawaz, their two young daughters and the extended Singhania family are expected to move into a 36-storey building half a kilometre from the Ambanis’ Carmichael Road home this year.
The tower home has come up where the landmark JK House — which housed a Raymond’s retail outlet — stood on Breach Candy’s Bhulabhai Desai Marg.
At 145 metres, it is not nearly as tall as the 173-metre Antilla, but with their soaring columns and large sea-facing ceiling-to-floor windows, the Ambani and Singhania houses look strikingly similar.
The Singhania home — yet to get a name — has been designed by Talati and Panthaky, a Mumbai firm that also operates in West Asia.
The firm, which built industrialist and MP Naveen Jindal’s Peddar Road home, refused to answer queries about the Singhania property.
But its website said: “JK House enjoys spectacular views of the ocean and all of Mumbai’s skyline. The slender tower is an engineering achievement designed with 48 feet cantilevers.”
It will have two Olympic size private swimming pools, a gym with a spa, recreational centre, and a helipad at its highest point, sources said. Antilla though is yet to get permission from the municipal and fire authorities for its helipad.
“The building will house the family-owned Raymond’s retail and garment showroom on the street level. The upper floors are divided into separate residential units for the different family members, each with spacious outdoor terraces and gardens,” the website said.
Between the store and the residential apartments will be five storeys of car parking space for the family, the sources said. The crowning glory will be an entire 6,000sqft floor to house a museum for Gautam’s jade collection from across the world.
Just across the road is the exclusive Breach Candy Club, which has a 10-year waiting list for new members, and a stone’s throw away is Lincoln House, a prime sea-facing property that housed the US consulate till last year.
“Unlike Delhi, the residences of the super-rich in Mumbai do not have marked differentiators in terms of locale. Billionaire homes overlook slums. So for their avant-garde homes, the wealthiest of this city are using scale and uber-luxury to set apart their private residences,” says Om Ahuja, CEO, Residential Services, Jones Lang LaSalle, India.
The walled-off bungalows in Delhi or the Mehrauli farmhouses in the outskirts of the capital are in exclusive enclaves. But the towering mansions of Mumbai’s rich are mostly uncomfortable contrasts to the poverty at their doorstep, abutting shanties or slums.
So, the 67-storey Palais Royale — at 320 metres, the tallest building on Mumbai’s skyline — stands surrounded by a skid row of over 200 tin and plastic sheet tenements.
The Lower Parel highrise, whose top 10 floors will be home to the Kasliwal brothers who own S. Kumar’s, is coming up where the family-owned Shreeram Mills once stood.
Even a decade back, mills and chawls of mill-workers dotted the cityscape here. It is from the back-alleys of Parel that underworld dons Dawood Ibrahim and Arun Gawli emerged. But the mills have now made way for malls.
The Kasliwal brothers are stacking up a hundred apartments measuring 8,700sqft and 14,000sqft — said to be priced between Rs 35 crore and Rs 60 crore. They will be sold to friends and family of the Kasliwals or to other high net worth individuals by invitation “so the tower houses only like-minded people”, said an official of Shreeram Urban Infrastructure, which is building Palais Royale.
The top 10 floors of what is being touted as India’s first “supertall” tower will be occupied by the Kasliwals, who will have a cinema, a spa, a cricket pitch, a badminton court, an indoor soccer field and three Olympic-size swimming pools at home, real estate sources said. The building is expected to be ready by 2013.
Come 2016, Palais Royale can expect to be dwarfed by the 720-metre-tall India Towers that is coming up at Marine Lines. At least three other skyscrapers that are taller than the Kasliwal building are planned by 2017. None of these is a one-family skyscraper though, unlike the home of the Ambanis and the one the Singhanias are building.
Business historian Dr Gita Piramal says that there is nothing extraordinary about this in-your-face show of wealth in a city where the average citizen gets a meagre 31sqft of floor space.
“It is certainly not a new trend. Even a hundred years back, the Wadias had their super-expensive sea-facing bungalows surrounded by massive gardens and hemmed in by tall walls. A part of the original Wadia House still is in the family’s hands,” says Piramal, who is the author of Business Maharajahs.
Not all corporate gods like to live in the heavens though.
Ratan Tata, who lives in a two-bedroom apartment now, has built a sea-front retirement home in Colaba that is much closer to the ground. It’s all of 13.5 metres tall, has four storeys, covers 13,350sqft and has parking space for about 15 cars. The Tata Group chairman, who retires this year, has named it Cabins.