The Marshall Building History

Built in 1906-07 by recognized architects George Ferry and Alfred Clas, the building was originally named Hoffman & Sons Co., Grocery Building after the owners and primary tenant. The box-like shape and arched pavilions were common features of many warehouses at that time, yet the way it was constructed was groundbreaking with the assistance of prized structural engineer, Claude A.P. Turner.


The building became a test project for Turner's pioneering construction method known as the Turner System or the Spiral Mushroom System.  Most buildings around this time used wood- and steel-framed floors, which made construction more expensive and tedious, but Turner’s system used flat-slab concrete floors that were supported by mushroom-headed columns and reinforced with steel rebar. The cost-effective technology resulted in a sturdy, built-to-last building.


Expansions continued when in 1911, the building completed a second topping-off ceremony with the addition of a sixth floor in order to accommodate John Hoffmann & Sons growing retail operations.


Building changes hands in the 1940’s

In 1942, Roundy’s purchased John Hoffmann & Sons and the building, which was then used for coffee roasting and sugar pulverizing. In 1947, residential real estate broker George Bockl purchased the building and in 1948 renamed it the Marshall Building after his son, Robert Marshall. The building became occupied by such groups as the Army, Jewish Vocational Services and the American Civil Liberties Union. Bockl would later sell the building in 1966, but his legacy would continue.


George Bockl reinvents building and neighborhood

In 1974, Bockl reacquired the Marshall Building with the notion of turning it into an incubator for small businesses, artists and craftsmen. He made sure to keep the rents affordable for the tenants offering them the ability to grow their businesses and sell their works and services. The move reactivated the neighborhood and paved the way for the building's next generation of tenants.


Marshall Building receives national recognition

In 2002, the Marshall Building was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark for being the world's oldest existing example of Claude Allen Porter Turner's Spiral Mushroom System.


The Marshall Building today

Now home to galleries, boutiques and corporate offices, George Bockl’s legacy continues to walk the halls; the Marshall Building is now owned by his grandson, Robert DeToro. The prime location offers both tenants and their guest’s endless conveniences such as easy access to bus stops, ample street and structure parking, an effortless proximity to cafes, restaurants, retail shopping, and just one block from the Public Market and Milwaukee’s three mile riverwalk.