By Sybile Penhirin on July 22, 2014 7:11am
UPPER EAST SIDE — A developer is clearing out most of an Upper East Side block, forcing several longtime restaurants to close by the end of July.
Johnny Foxes at 1546 Second Ave. shut down on Sunday, and next to go will be the neighboring Chinese eatery Nancy Lee’s Pig Heaven and Mexican restaurant Cascabel Taqueria.
All three restaurants are on Second Avenue between East 80th and 81st streets, where Icon Realty Management has spent $44.8 million buying six buildings in the past seven years, public records show. Icon has also snapped up air rights from another building on the block.
Neighbors, patrons and restaurant managers said they heard five of the buildings — which are already nearly empty and will be fully vacant by Aug. 1 — will be demolished and replaced by a high-rise.
“The landlord said we had to move because they were tearing down the building,” said 23-year-old Gizem Ozen, whose family runs Agora Turkish. The restaurant, which was located on the corner of 80th Street and Second Avenue for two and 1/2 years, was forced to move out earlier this year.