Legacy

Dahlem is in its third generation of family leadership, and it’s no secret that we’re proud of our history in the Louisville area. With a wealth of regional knowledge, an unmatched understanding of market nuances and a host of partner opportunities, we continue to provide the same first-class service to our clients that we have since day one.

timeline-featured

1931

The Dahlem Construction Company is founded by Joseph C. Dahlem. At the age of 27, Joseph’s employer has insufficient funds to pay his bonus for jobs he had completed as a young superintendent, so he takes the wage in lumber, borrows $500 from his father-in-law and starts his own company. Joe begins as a storefront contractor designing and building primarily on Fourth Street in Louisville, Kentucky, which evolves into larger construction jobs.

1933

Dahlem Construction lands its largest contract to date with the Falls City Brewery.

1936

Dahlem builds the original Douglas Loop. The entrepreneurial spirit of Joe's son, 6 year old Bernie, shows when he takes his classmates to the Loop and charges each a nickel to walk the scaffold around the project!

1937

From 1937 to 1948 Dahlem Construction was located at 1249 S. Shelby Street inside the Dahlem Hardware Store (on right in picture). At first in the back of the hardware store and as the construction company grew a second floor was added to the rear building.

1938

As Joe’s construction company grows, he develops Louisville’s first shopping center at Baxter and Highland Avenues. The center includes a Kroger store and a Walgreen Drugs, and the 4,000 square-foot Kroger Store is billed as the largest grocery in the south. Walgreen’s remains at this location today in a new store as the property’s anchor. This property has the city’s first pull-up parking, Joe’s idea is later copied along Lexington Road in St. Matthews.

1939

Dahlem Construction is the contractor for The Vogue Theatre and most of the retail along this stretch of Lexington Road in Louisville.

1953

Dahlem Construction was the general
contractor for the Original Shelbyville Road Plaza. This picture looks east to what will someday be the Watterson Expressway interchange.

1956

Bernard, Joe’s son, officially joins the company after serving in the Civil Engineer Corps in the United States Navy. Although he was involved in every aspect of the construction business for many years prior to his military service, he now manages the company’s shopping centers in addition to his responsibilities as an engineer for the family’s construction company. While Bernie understands construction, only his father knows the real estate business, so Bernie decides it’s time to learn that, too.

1957

Joe and Bernie Dahlem develop and open Indian Trail Square in 1957 on the south side of Louisville. In the first phase of the development Winn-Dixie anchored one end of the main strip and Kroger anchored the other end.

1958

Dahlem joins the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) as its 190th member.

1963

Bernie attends the Shopping Center Management School at Michigan State, which was sponsored by ICSC. Bernie is in the first class of graduates to be officially certified as a Shopping Center Manager (CSM) the next year.

1970

Bernie purchases the company from his father.

1972

In addition to the Actors Theatre at the abandoned Illinois Central Railroad Station at Seventh Street and the Ohio River in 1966, Dahlem Construction was the general contractor for Actors Theatre on Main Street in 1972. The construction included refurbishing the old Bank of Louisville building, its lobby and construction of both the Pamela Brown Auditorium and Victor Jory Theatre. The building is the third-oldest building still standing in downtown Louisville. The next time you are there, notice the straight lines in the horizontal masonry mortar joints at the rear of the curved wall of the Brown Auditorium. That’s not easy and it didn’t happen by accident!

1973

Dahlem Construction built the Bashford Manor Mall. The mall was named for Bashford Manor Horse Farm, a famous thoroughbred training farm. The mall was a 560,000-square-foot enclosed mall in Louisville, Kentucky which opened in 1973 and once had about 85 stores, including Ayr-Way, Bacon's, Ben Snyder's and A & P.

1978

While overseeing Dahlem Construction Company, Bernie founds Dahlem Realty Company to lease and manage the retail developments that he and his father have developed since the mid 1930s.

1981

Dahlem Construction celebrates 50 years as a general contractor!!

1982

Dahlem purchases Bethel Building Systems, a company that specializes in pre-engineered metal building systems.

1984

Bernie Dahlem acquires The 1000 Building in Louisville, Kentucky. Soon after the real estate company moved to the building and the construction company remained at a separate location.

1990

Jim Dahlem returns to Dahlem Realty from Washington, DC after serving on the Presidential Advance Team for President Ronald Reagan and Special Assistant to Senator Mitch McConnell.

1991

Charlie Dahlem returns to Dahlem Construction from Atlanta, Georgia after working at Citizens & Southern National Bank.

1993

Bernie Dahlem, Chairman of the Board, retires from the company after 48 years of service (although Bernie had worked in the company off and on as a young man before and during college).

1993

Humana engaged Dahlem Construction to demolish the former Belknap Hardware Warehouse, construct a park/plaza in its place and refurbish the exterior of its Belknap Building along Main Street in Louisville. Dahlem decided it was best to implode the building quietly on a Sunday morning. Hollywood had other plans. After making a donation to Louisville’s Waterfront Development, they hosted a MTV contest and party to promote its new movie Demolition Man starring Sylvester Stallone, Sandra Bullock and Wesley Snipes. All three were on hand for the party and the demolition

1997

The Dahlem family sells Dahlem Construction Company, ending its 66 years and three generations in business as a
general contractor in and around the Louisville area.

1999

Jerry Hinton, President, retires from the company after 46 years of service.

2001

Dahlem purchases the Bi-Lo grocer anchored Prosperity Market shopping center in Charlotte, NC

2001

1000 Baxter Avenue Center, Louisville’s first suburban shopping center, is razed and rebuilt to accommodate a new Walgreens, its anchor tenant since 1936.

2003

Dahlem sells Indian Trail Square, a 360,000 square foot shopping center that Joe and Bernie developed in 1957.

2004

Dahlem purchases Mill Creek Station in Buford, Georgia. Mill Creek is located across from The Mall of Georgia, one of the nation's largest shopping malls.

2004

The Shops of Schillinger is acquired in Mobile, Alabama. This Super Target Anchored shopping center is located on the fast growing side of west Mobile.

2006

Dahlem acquires Mintworth Commons, a Harris Teeter grocer anchored shopping center in Charlotte, NC

2006

Corydon Center, originally developed by Bernie Dahlem in 1984, is almost completely razed and rebuilt into an 80,000 square foot shopping center with a Walgreens in the outparcel, a Tractor Supply and a retail shop space.

2007

Dahlem divests its interest in Prosperity Market shopping center in Charlotte

2009

Dahlem Center, built in the 1950s by Joe and Bernie, is razed and rebuilt to relocate Walgreens on the end cap of the property.

2011

Dahlem sells The 1000 Building to Hosparus. Hosparus retains Dahlem to continue to lease and manage the building for them.

2011

Hosparus has expansion plans in The 1000 Building so Dahlem acquires and moves to 1531 Ormsby Station Court in eastern Jefferson County.

2012

The Shops of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana, join the portfolio.

2012

White House Crossing in White House, TN is acquired. This fast growing community is just north of Nashville.

2014

Dahlem purchases Walton Towne Center, a shopping center and outparcels shadow anchored by a new Kroger Marketplace and Kohls in Walton, KY. Walton is located just south of Cincinnati along Interstate 75.

2014

Mike Connaughton, CFO, retires from the company after 47 years of service.

2015

Clifton Kroger Center is completely remodeled and Kroger takes control of the entire building with a grocery store and separate wine and spirits store.

2016

Dahlem sells Mintworth Commons in Charlotte, NC

2016

Dahlem acquires Tylersville Farm shopping center in Cincinnati, Ohio’s West Chester Township. The is anchored by LA Fitness, the property includes among others Skyline Chili, Plato’s Closet, Firehouse Subs, Once Upon a Child, Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Today

Jim and Charlie, Bernie’s sons, are now at the helm of the Dahlem company. Relying on the strong foundation laid out by their father, grandfather and many other loyal employees, they continue to expand the company’s real estate holdings throughout Louisville, the Midwest and the Southeastern United States.