Managing Partner

Over the past 12 years, Brent Dahlstrom has grown his real estate development business, Echo Development Group, into one of the most diverse of its kind. Sister-company, Rent Cedar Valley, began as just a few college rentals and now encompasses a portfolio of over 1,400 rental units. This portfolio includes single-family rentals, 10-plex, 12-plex, and large multi-family / mixed-use buildings serving students, millennials, and empty nesters alike.

In 2018, Dahlstrom organized Merge Urban Development Group to serve a unique sector of the real estate development landscape: Opportunity Zones. The Merge team visited over 100 communities within its first six months of operation, seeking progressive leaders that aligned with Merge’s vision to utilize the Opportunity Zone initiative to bring next-generation development to Midwest cities’ urban cores. Merge has four OZ development projects under construction in 2020. Its first Wisconsin project was approved in 2019 and broke ground before the end of last year. Projects across Iowa & Wisconsin have been awarded grants and tax credits for: disaster relief, workforce housing development, Brownfield cleanup, and community development.

Outside of the real estate business, Dahlstrom has been a successful entrepreneur and partner in many businesses across the Cedar Valley. His first startup was an internet-based event ticket company. Today, he partners with a range of operators across sectors – including boutique fitness, restaurant, transportation, alternative energy & security, recreation & event-based facilities, construction trades, and more. Dahlstrom’s attitude toward collaboration and his relentless optimism have elevated his reputation within the local entrepreneurial ecosystem as a credible resource for both knowhow and financial backing.


  • 2007 UNI Alumni, Student-athlete


  • 2018 National Community Development Association – Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award
  • 2018 Cedar Valley 20 Under 40
  • 2017 Iowa Finance Authority – Iowa Multifamily Housing Development Award
  • 2017 UNI Emerging Philanthropist Award
brent dahlstrom merge urban development group
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