On a recent afternoon, Kelcy Warren typed in the security code to his master bedroom. He walked past the bed, through the vast, green marbled bathroom and into the multiroom walk-in closet, where he pushed in a shelf disguised as a shoe rack. A door swung open, revealing a spacious room.
Inside Kelcy Warren’s Estates
The contents of the room were more Rolling Stone than James Bond. Cabinets were filled with music memorabilia like an autographed photo of Jackson Browne and drumsticks signed by members of the Eagles, and there were lots of acoustic guitars. “This is where I play and write songs. But I don’t let anyone hear me because, excuse my language, I suck,” Mr. Warren confided.
A billionaire who co-founded Energy Transfer Partners, one of the largest natural-gas pipeline companies in the U.S., Mr. Warren likes real estate—he owns several homes—but his passion has long been music. He co-founded Music Road Records in 2007 with longtime friend and local musician Jimmy LaFave and recording engineer Fred Remmert and holds concerts at his lavish homes to promote a singer-songwriter genre that falls between Americana and alternative, mostly acoustic rock. “I’m trying to introduce people to our kind of music,” he explained.
He holds an annual music festival at his 8,000-acre ranch near Cherokee, Texas, a former exotic animal refuge where zebras, buffalo and gazelles still roam. He’s hoping to hold a similar event at the 3,500-acre property called Boot Jack Ranch he recently bought in Colorado for $46.5 million. Last weekend Mr. Warren, 54, took members of the Austin, Texas-based band Stonehoney on his jet to his private island in Honduras, where they trekked through a forest and rode the zip-line Mr. Warren installed near his plantation-style home.
In Dallas recently, Mr. Warren opened the doors to his 23,000-square-foot stone castle-like home, purchased last year for $30 million, for a private concert for singer-songwriter Sam Baker. Guests drove through a high iron gate, crossed a bridge over a private lake that resembles a moat and parked around a grass circle fronted by weeping willows and pecan trees. They stepped into a wood-paneled entry hall with a 10-foot-tall iron chandelier hanging from a frosted skylight. After a stop at a generous buffet in the dining room, they went upstairs to the music room—a space with a trap door under the stage and a velvet curtain.
Among the 100 or so friends and associates in attendance was former Dallas Cowboys safety Cliff Harris, who said he was happy to be there even though he was missing watching the Texas Rangers in a playoff game. “I told Kelcy he should have a giant screen with the game on behind the band,” he said. (Klyde, Mr. Warren’s 8-year-old son, was in charge of checking on the score downstairs and giving periodic updates.)
Set on nine acres in Preston Hollow, one of Dallas’s ritziest neighborhoods, Mr. Warren’s property includes a bowling alley, a baseball diamond, a racquetball court, an indoor swimming pool with men’s and women’s locker rooms, a tennis court and a large outdoor fountain stocked with hundreds of giant koi. Mr. Warren’s changes to the property, built in 1993 and previously owned by software entrepreneur Larry Lacerte, have been minimal: The baseball diamond’s scoreboard lists “Warren” as one of the teams and “Home” as the other; the basement bowling alley has “Warren Lanes” painted on the wall.
The home was listed as having six bedrooms and 13 bathrooms, but there are seemingly endless other rooms that include sitting rooms, libraries and guest areas. A wing at one end with a separate entrance has two apartments with kitchens. The house’s interior is decorated in an Old World, medieval style that includes many vigorously tassled brown and maroon velour pillows, heavy drapery and wide armchairs upholstered in a yellow and maroon brocade-like pattern, all chosen by Mr. Warren’s wife, Amy, 46.
Son Klyde’s bedroom came already equipped with two tree-house-like bunk beds made from what looks like sticks, and a separate tree-house-like loft with stairs made from a tree on the property. Electric “stars” on the ceiling light up with a switch. Mr. Warren said details like this and the baseball diamond are what enticed him to buy the estate. “It’s a kid’s Disney World. He is my only child and he’ll only be young for a little longer,” Mr. Warren said.
Mr. Warren said he views his estates as an investing alternative to the stock market; he likes to buy what other people have already built, at a discount.
His friends are often around—even when he isn’t home. “He owns it and has to pay the bills. I just get to come and hang out,” joked John Nolan, a frequent guest. Mr. Nolan, who does marketing for Mr. Warren’s company, recalls when Mr. Warren would bring singer-songwriters to the office and would pay for guitar lessons for employees. “We are still the same guys who cut grass and dug ditches. Our worlds are different now but we are the same.”