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.