These beautiful, old, native Miami trees of “Oak Plaza” were chopped down today

If you have ever wandered the Design District, just once in the last 70 150+ years or so, you might remember the awesome beauty of the trees located on NE 39th Street. After MaiTardi closed and construction began on the new, über-glamorous developments in the Design District, locals kept an eye on these wonderfully unique natural beauties and celebrated the fact that the City of Miami’s tree policy would not allow for their removal. Workers demolished EVERYthing you see in the above picture, BUT the trees. The gold mosaics and popular destination (my favorite local restaurant) were missed, but the trees remained. Until today.

Even more shocking, these trees were not dug up to be replanted elsewhere, but literally hacked to splintered bits. We’ll post a picture of the remaining stump tomorrow with the help of daylight.

But for now, we are left to mourn the last remaining natural beauty in this historic heart of Old Miami - and to ask: Craig Robbins, how could you let this happen?

Where is our respect for place? For the shadows, the sounds, the sights of trees that make walking, bicycling… stopping, wandering so richly rewarding?

Even in Winter - Beautiful

If you have information on how or why this happened, please share. Thank you.


What is left of “Oak Plaza”

If there is a reason, where were the pink tags? The permit-required signs notifying neighbors why?


17 Responses to Who Chopped Down the Design District Trees?

  1. Null says:

    This gets me so angry! Miami’s biggest problem is the intense heat and lack of trees shading us and allowing for a pedestrian experience. Places with trees that have shade are few and far in between. Miami Lakes is a good example of a place where there are a lot of trees shading from the heat and make invite people to walk around the neighborhood. Well I’ll tell you one thing, if this is the case, you won’t see me walking around the Design District anytime soon.


  2. Delfino says:

    These trees fell victim to several factors, not the least of which was that they were dying.

    Foliage cover had been steadily declining for several years, and a test done by a tree surgeon indicated that they could not be saved, they would continue to deteriorate until they no longer produced leaves.

    The ongoing expansion of the facilities in the design district required the (unfortunate and reprehensible) demolition of oak plaza, an architectural joy. It was decided rather than relocate the trees to live out the remainder of their short existence in deterioration, that they should simply be removed.


  3. btrentler says:

    so are they being replaced and was a required county permit pulled?


  4. @Delfino: All the awards that architectural gem garnered did not ‘require’ it’s conservation?
    @btrentler” We don’t know yet how they permits, city/county, were filed.


  5. Gables says:

    when new trees are planted in the design district they had better be big mature ones and not 3 foot tall splinters.


  6. Jack says:

    Miami’s heat should dictate that the more trees the better. It is unbelievable to me that all the streets in Miami do not fall under a canopy.


  7. GimmeShelter says:

    Fortunately a bunch of old trees north of this at 62nd and NE 2nd were saved through community activism. A church wanted to tear them down, not very godlike. Haitians aren’t known for being tree friendly though.


  8. JJJ says:

    Let me guess, if no permits were issued, they get to pay something like a $50 fine?


  9. Jane Issa says:

    Miami is becoming more unconscious, city officials and developers partnering to re-invent. It is moronic.


  10. Just in time for Art Basel! Perfect, Rising Tide artists!


  11. Perfect, just in time for Art Basel!
    Who’s going to notice amidst all that debauchery, Rising Tide artists?


  12. cljahn says:

    Delfino - let’s see a tree surgeon’s report on the condition of the trees; until such a report is produced, any claims about the trees’ health is worthless.


  13. David Lee says:

    Great photos. Those trees were works of art. Craig Robins had them demolished so he can build another store. Yes, Haitians want to kill over 20 oak trees on NE 2nd Ave. They are all over 100 years old. They are at 62nd Street and NE 2nd Avenue. The Haitians are getting ready to build parking lots on the tree roots.


  14. Bob Brennan says:

    THE Trees were dying because they were buried by the previous owner to build the beautiful patio… It would take many years to kill these beauties. The tip dieback is the first sign,and it takes years from there, to shut down the flow of nutrients to the tips of the branches. This is what happens when roots start to die.

    Our county and city of miami care little about the old growth trees we have protected


  15. Bob Brennan says:

    The parking lot on NE 2nd ave and 62St should never be built. The developer and the city agreed they would follow the ANSI Standard for tree protection. That means there is not enough room for cars and asphalt.

    There is a beautiful nearly un attended church up the street. Why does the catholic church not give that property to this church.

    Killing more historic trees is a travesty and needs to stop…..


  16. hello says:

    they got away with it


  17. Lemon City Resident says:

    Well known arborist Bob Brennan is correct. The Catholic Church is in the process of killing many 100+ year old oak trees on NE 2nd Avenue at NE 62nd Street to create more parking for its customers. 25 to 30 oak trees are at risk. Those trees are irreplaceable.


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