Marshall Bennett, a pioneer in the Chicago commercial real estate scene who spearheaded the modern industrial park, has died at the age of 97.
Born in 1921 on the south side of Chicago, he was one of the most productive real estate developers of the postwar period as co-founder and partner, along with Louis Kahnweiler, of Bennett & Kahnweiler. The two developed Centex Industrial Park in 1957 on more than 2,000 acres in Elk Grove Village—then the largest industrial development in the nation—opening up the O’Hare submarket to large, industrial properties. They would go on to build a portfolio of 26 industrial parks around the country.
The physical after affects from a 1976 kayaking accident forced Bennett to yield the reins on his business dealings. But eager to stay engaged, he hosted a series of dinners with industry leaders at his Sun Valley, Idaho home. The popular, invite-only event eventually came to be known as the Marshall Bennett Classic.
Along with Gerald Fogelson and Tony Pasquinelli, Bennett co-founded the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University in 2002. He was inducted into the Chicago Association of RealtorsHall of Fame in 1989.
Bennett, a World War II veteran, received his bachelors from the University of Chicago and did post-grad work at Philadelphia’s Wharton School of Business and Finance as well as back at the University of Chicago. A longtime philanthropist and supporter of the arts, he has backed or volunteered for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Ravinia Festival Association, the Clinton Foundation, the East-West Institute, the Weizmann Institute and the Albert Einstein Peace Prize Foundation.