Brea Walden LLC paid $6.2 million to Houston-based Nuevo EnergyCo., which is the largest independent producer of oil and gas inCalifornia. The parcel abuts Tonner Hills, Nuevo's 790-acreproposed residential project.

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"We are pleased to have realized a small portion of the value ofour California real estate portfolio and we believe that thistransaction bodes well for a larger one still to come," saysPhillip Gobe, Nuevo's interim president and CEO. Nuevo, which iscurrently seeking entitlement for Tonner Hills, plans to sell thatland as well.

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"We acquired oil and gas assets in April 1996 and the land camealong with that purchase," says Barbara Forbes, a Nuevospokeswoman. Since real estate is not the company's core business,it has decided to sell the parcels, she explains.

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Land available for residential development continues to be inshort supply all across Southern California, which has added to thehousing problem. "The transaction value (of the 13-acre Breaparcel) reflects the persisting scarcity of housing in OrangeCounty in general, and the high level of demand for land suitablefor residential development in the Brea area specifically," Gobesays.

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