Here’s the Latest Mighty Old Oak to Eat It in the Name of Progress; This One in First Ward


A reader sends in this photo of a good-sized live oak — estimated at 30″ caliper — brought down in the First Ward near Sabine St. and Ovid St.,  perhaps Houston’s most classically-named corner.


The sign reveals the lumberjacks to be working on behalf of Uptown, which shares space on the sign with Urban Living.

Taking a closer look at the arboreal carnage, and its proximity to the public roadway.


    Photo: Swamplot inbox

Baker Subtraction

25 Comment

  • Lumberjacks are true Americans. Liberating American soil from the root entangling, solar powered, and ecofriendly trees that personify liberal hipsters to me.

  • Shame, and that could be trouble.

  • Oakligarchy.

  • Urban Living is known for cheap building. So to do you expect them to care about a tree? Look at what they did in Rice Military buy aggressive buying tactics and bulldozing everything. Okay they are not alone in that. When I lived there, Aziza homes (based out of Dallas) did the same. Bit there were responsible builders in the area too. I bought a house from Blossom Street builders who reduced a room and increased patio to save a 50+ yr water oak tree on the property. When I sold that house, it had a higher value than my neighbors because of a massive tree on property versus barren houses two blocks away.

    Anyway, Urban Living’s business model seems to be to buy building material in bulk from China and have it shipped so they can be utilized in all their townhouses and patio houses. This formula works for under 300K houses where buyers are okay getting an inner loop deal on real estate. But when they tried this on 500K-750K market, they got burned. Everyone in real estate in the Heights don’t want to be associated with them as buyers are more discerning and bank loans look at quality as well. Perfect example is their two houses with open houses for over a year on Herkimer Street I think near 7th or 8th street in the Heights. There is another one nearby that the owner is trying to sell after an year of ownership but for sale is up for the last 6 monthes. Yes, this is the same Heights where houses with quality construction andd competitively priced get snapped up within days on the market.

  • Are we talking about hipster-lumberjacks or real lumberjacks?

  • Urban living is NOT A BUILDER. THEY ARE REAL ESTATE AGENTS. Saying that Urban Living is know for cheap building, is basically the same thing as saying most people that post on here are uninformed. It’s like saying Martha Turner is a terrible contractor, or John Daughtery is a shitty builder.

  • would’ve been pruned to near-death anyhow if it had stayed and I wouldn’t want those roots anywhere near my foundation. you really can’t have old oaks like this with high-density townhomes. at least they didn’t use a choke hold.

    Urban Living is in the house!!!!!

  • Big trees and density don’t mix. But such is the process of making a neighborhood more “livable”.

  • Looks like public right of way to me. I hope City Hall is paying attention.
    Fine! Fine! Fine! And force a suitable replacement tree.
    Urban Living should build on parking lots given their hostility to anything green.

  • What a god damned embarrassment. I don’t know what type of person could do this and look at themselves in the mirror.

  • Urban Living may be real estate agents, but they peddle poorly built homes. I was not impressed with them as agents either when I was in the market several years ago.

  • Consistent and uniform application of the COH tree ordinance is again called for in this case. The permit situation should be reviewed and if an anomaly is found which qualifies as a violation, then the appropriate fine and tree replacement should be pursued. The message must be clear to area developers and contractors: if you choose to disregard this ordinance, then you will take a considerable financial and PR hit. Simple.

  • Some folks on here have strange priorities. Some folks want to preserve trees, other folks want to increase density. I suppose that each of those camps believes that their approach will save the planet or something. Hell, I just want a nice city to live in and First Ward does not at present satisfy that desire because the structures that exist there are blighted (as depicted in the photo, but nobody cares). Whatever your other goals might be, resolving blight (especially in close-in transitioning neighborhoods) should be a top priority and the thing that should trigger outrage. I’d imagine that pretty much every other concern would work itself out in due course.

  • From looking at the tree on Google street view, it was definitely on the property, and was not a particularly good specimen.

  • I’m in the process of buying a typical 3 story home in the Montrose area. The developer had to cut down a tree on the lot. I love trees and would have liked to have kept it. If they had not cut this one down then the house would have not been feasible to build. The only way to develop the lot would have been to combine it with another lot or make the house much smaller. This would have put the house out of my price range. The tree had to be sacrificed so that a person of my humble means could afford to live in the neighborhood. In my case it would have been a tree, not an oligarchy making the neighborhood too expensive.

  • Urban Living built townhomes next to our East Houston rental properties. To put up a fence, they felled 3 old oaks, all of which were on our side of the property line. They SUCK!

  • URBAN LIVING did or does have a building company.

  • Greg, Urban Living contractors trashed the parking lot where I attend services while building a development across the street in Shady Acres and now they are building next door. And the development across the street is apparently only in the first phase. So parking lots are not their forte either.

  • Such outrage at the felling of a single tree on private, blighted property. If you really give a shit, then:

    1. Go volunteer with Trees for Houston to actually plant a tree somewhere that has been properly vetted, sited, species-selected, and approved by all involved parties
    2. Call your councilman to improve existing tree ordinances and enforcement
    3. Plant all the trees you want on your own property
    4. Post a tirade on a blog calling for the landowner’s imminent execution.

    You decide which of those options are most effective.

  • I know this builder personally and also know that it was permitted to remove the tree. So all the haters can relax! Everything was done correctly. Also, Urban Living is NOT the builder in this case. At the present, they are just agents during the pre-sale. Carry on children, keep bashing!

  • Oh man, justabuilder, this is getting ridiculous! Can you at least try to plant a little seed of doubt about who you really are?

  • @Superdave well said. You seem like a level headed guy.

  • Our PRO-DEVELOPMENT mayor needs to enact a STRONGLY enforced HIGH $$$ penalty tree PROTECTION ordinance. Anything over 5″ diameter MUST be preserved. In the meantime,the tree Gods will bring karmatic retribution on the builders/developers who KILL these aewsome old trees. Build around ’em. Preserve the trees like Carnegie Builders,for example has done.