Texas Billionaire Gets Biggest Real Estate Deal of the Year

A Texas billionaire who's also one of the wealthiest people in America just pulled off the biggest U.S. real estate deal of the year. Kelcy Warren, who heads a Dallas-based gas-pipeline company, snapped up one of the biggest ranch spreads in Colorado -- Boot Jack Ranch.

The Wall Street Journal
that the chairman and chief executive of Energy Transfer Partners, LP paid $46.5 million for the 3,500-acre ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colo. That's almost half-price.

The ranch near Telluride, owned by a San Francisco Bay-area developer, originally was listed for $88 million.

Now the Dallas civil engineer, who made Forbes' list of 400 richest Americans in 2009, can enjoy a 14,000-square-foot log cabin-style residence nestled in the southern San Juan mountains: The compound has 27 bedrooms, 29 bathrooms and four half-baths, according to Sotheby's, who listed the estate. The ranch has miles of river, which means great fishing, plus lakes and an 82-foot-long pool. Along with multiple guest cabins, there's a wine center, a 12,000-square-foot glass spa and aquatic center complete with retractable-roof (fresh mountain air for yoga is a must), and even a manager's office. Do take a look at the custom dining room light-fixture in the shape of a canoe.

There's a total of 77,000 square feet of interior -- plenty of room to entertain an army in the Rocky Mountains.

The Texas billionaire seems to be on a real estate buying spree, but Warren's quite the shrewd shopper. Last June, he bought one of the most expensive spreads in the city of Dallas, the nine-acre estate of software magnate Larry Lacerte, which had been listed for $45 million at one time. President George Bush and Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson were among frequent VIP guests in the 26,620-square-foot home with a racquetball court, exercise room and locker rooms adjacent to a near-Olympic-size pool, housed in its own building.

It also has a bowling alley, wine cellar with tasting room, a tennis court, a baseball diamond, an orangerie conservatory overlooking interlocking Koi ponds (home to about a million dollars worth of Koi), and a small private lake. Texas law permits buyers to keep the sales price of homes confidential, but Warren reportedly paid less than $30 million for the estate.

His real estate agent was Rosie Waters, wife of Dallas Cowboys football legend Charlie Waters. Warren also owns an island off the coast of Roatan, Honduras where he is building a private retreat and flies in frequently on his private planes.

Leave it to a Texas energy baron to beat out a guy from Wall Street. According to the Journal, Warren's ranch deal beats the $43 million paid last summer by New York money manager Lewis A. Sanders for a 10-bedroom contemporary and guest house in Aspen, which was reputed to be the largest real estate deal in the country last year.

In Texas, that's what we call good dealin'.

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