The Real Estate Lab, a recently launched free program designed to teach downtown Allentown residents how to invest in real estate and manage properties in their community, recently announced its first graduating class along with the properties purchased by graduates.

The Real Estate Lab was launched in January 2020 by City Center Investment Corp., the real estate development company revitalizing downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Lafayette College’s Dyer Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Located at 6th and Linden streets, The Real Estate Lab gives local residents walkable access to the resources and capital they need to become real estate entrepreneurs.

The first nine participants to complete the program come from different walks of life but share an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to help their downtown Allentown community. The graduates include a financial advisor, an immigrant from Sudan, a social-service professional and a sales representative, among others. Their names are Pedro Jose, Sean Roth, Ibrahim Abbakar, Jose Rivera, Michael Smith, Quantera Lightner, Thaelis Villon, Jonathan Mieses and Tajai Smith. (Biographies & properties purchased at end of press release.) Each graduate received a certificate from Dyer Center Director and Real Estate Lab Cofounder Yusuf Dahl and Real Estate Lab Director Jon Strauss in a ceremony at The Lab.

The Real Estate Lab offers several programs at no cost, including a 10-week First-time Investor Program, a Real Estate Entrepreneurship Access Program, and an Investor Club. Participants are taught how to acquire, rehabilitate, and manage real estate and learn about the many additional business opportunities in the industry. The Real Estate Lab’s comprehensive programs tap into collaborations with Allentown’s most successful investors for the benefit of participants.

The Real Estate Lab also helps participants develop the bankability necessary for success in the industry. City Center established an Allentown Neighborhood Innovation Fund with an initial investment of $1 million. Community leaders pool capital in the fund to be invested in program participants through grants, low- or no-interest loans and equity investments.

The Real Estate Lab will offer its next set of classes in early 2021. Anyone interested in participating can submit their information through the contact page at

Media Contact:
Jeff Vaughan, Vaughan Communications Group,, 610-533-4264
Source: City Center Investment Corporation