Developer: The Marquis Is Closed. Let’s Move On.

251 DeKalb will take advantage of the King of Prussia complex’s strengths: its location and its bones.

A rendering of an entrance to the complex, courtesy of the developer.

Developer Candlebrook Properties is spending millions to renovate a five-building apartment complex near the King of Prussia mall with the hope that the result, to be called 251 DeKalb, will wipe away all remnants of the old complex’s history as the notorious Marquis. “The Marquis has been effectively closed,” said Candlebrook CEO Neil Rubler. “Residents of the Marquis are moving out or have moved out.”

Rubler said he isn’t making “transitional improvements.” Instead, he’s starting fresh. “This is a story of an apartment property that had tremendous opportunity and potential that wasn’t being realized,” he said. Now the property will have a new name, renovated buildings, and new tenants. Existing tenants’ leases aren’t being renewed.

Rubler is taking advantage of the few things he can’t change and wouldn’t want to — like the siting, and the bones of the buildings. The complex sits on 26 acres on top of a hill with “panoramic views in every direction,” Rubler said. (A features list distributed by Candlebrook says it’s at the highest point on the Main Line.)

The buildings were constructed in the 1960s, and the renovation under way won’t try to hide that. “We wanted to be honest about that and identity the features of that period,” Rubler said. “Everything in the project is of a modernist aesthetic.” The design is by Varenhorst Architects of Philadelphia.

251 DeKalb will have an indoor children’s play area and curated art displays in common areas. Rubler also said he wants to activate the property’s many acres of overgrown land with walking trails, a redesigned outdoor pool, and new tennis, basketball, and bocce courts.

So much change is coming to the complex that, Rubler said, “I would deeply surprised if anyone even made the connection” to its former life as the Marquis.

The first 250 renovated units, in two of the five buildings, are scheduled to come online soon after Memorial Day.

A rendering of a renovated kitchen in one of the units, courtesy of the developer

A rendering of a renovated kitchen in one of the units, courtesy of the developer

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Chris

    What ridiculous renovation plans these are—a $50 million facelift, with an entrance rendering that looks like something out of a science fiction film, to a glorified slum. Better yet, they’re flushing out all the tenants (what’s left of them anyway—currently the Marquis has a whopping 36% occupancy) to make room for new ones. Translation: Gentrification!

    I’m just curious as to where Mr. Rubler thinks these high-class, deep-pocketed tenants are going to come from, in this horrific economy. My guess is Rubler thinks that because of the proximity to the mall and all of the fancy SUVs he saw sailing up and down DeKalb Pike, that KOP is a “wealthy” Philly suburb. Wrong again, Bob! Sure, the town boasts nice houses in sleepy residential neighborhoods. But this ain’t the Main Line.

    The fact that Mr. Rubler unilaterally decided NOT to renew any of the existing tenant’s leases is a great indicator of how lowly he thinks of renters. THIS is how he wants to remake the Marquis to make it habitable for young couples and families? By turning the former Marquis into an overpriced complex complete with “curated art displays” and a walking trail, all the while pricing out the very tenants who kept this place from turning into a ghost town?

    Perhaps Rubler can get away with this in hipster-infested Brooklyn where the trust funds pay the rent. But this is KOP. People actually work for a living around here, and desire affordable housing. Did Rubler bother to take a gander at the people who actually live here? If the Marquis was actually able to attract a higher class of tenant, wouldn’t they have done it by now? What’s a $50 million makeover going to do except price the complex out of hard-working, rent-paying tenants?

    • guest

      You obviously don’t know the area very well this isn’t far from the main line, and most of other apt complexes in KOP are years past needed renovations. I lived at the Marquis about 10 years ago it was a dump then its nice to see someone trying to renovate and get rid of all the trash.

      • Love thy neighbor

        People are not trash.

  • King of Prussian

    I was a tenant at the Marquis. It was bad enough the previous owners had no respect for that property or the people living inside ( thus the disrepair) ; but to add insult to injury the new fat cat owners decide to evict everyone with a 60 day notice- after at least 5 months of ownership. They left everyone in the dark. This was in the middle of a school year. Children had to be placed into different schools. Families were displaced. They did nothing to help us. Now they are advertising as a unique place for families? They will care nothing for you or your family.

    Trust me this is the same property with the same problems that have been covered up with a little dry wall, fake wood floors and some stainless steel appliances. Is this worth $1500 a month for a studio?

  • Emerging Moguls

    $1,900 for a two bedroom in KOP? The commute into Philadelphia is “hell-ish”, there are many affordable alternatives because of the surrounding colleges and universities and, the only things in close proximity are the mall and Valley Forge Casino. No one wants to live in the suburbs anymore. This is a waste of money.

  • Quest

    They can renovate until the end of time. But to say they are making improvements for family living, PLEASE!!! Do they really care about family, or just making a buck? Clearly it’s just business. They forced families out with only a few months left in the school year. Folks who wasn’t prepared to relocate within 60 days & couldn’t afford to stay in the area were force to transfer their kids to new schools. Any idea what the kids go through with adjusting. And then they tell us, when the renovations are done, we should come and check them out. I wouldn’t live there again if it’s the last place on earth!!!!!

    They are just greedy. Didn’t want to offer their tenants the option to move to an upgraded unit because legally they couldn’t increase rent no more than 10%. They figure they’d get double the rent. So forced folks out to get new tenants at double the price. Good luck with getting folks to throw their hard earned money down the drain for this dump. Once a dump, always a dump!!!!!!

    251 DeKalb will always be The Marquis. You wanna get rid of the a Marquis and it’s stigma? Tear it down & rebuild from the ground. Otherwise it’s will always be The Marquis, just with a new name with band aides.

    Hopefully folks will read all of the reviews before signing the lease.