MLA Properties was established by the Klaus family in 2014. The Klaus family has a proud tradition of success, with deep roots in the apparel business dating back to the founding of Burma Bibas in 1926.
In 1975, the Klaus family entered the real estate business with the purchase of the Blanchard Building at 21-09 Borden Avenue, Long Island City, New York. In the years that followed, the family continued to strategically expand its real estate holdings which ultimately led to the creation of MLA.
MLA Properties invests in residential and commercial real estate throughout the United States. The firm has more than $600,000,000 in assets under management, including multi-family, retail and office.
MLA’s current investment strategy focuses on core plus and value add garden-style multifamily investments in non-gateway markets.
Mort Klaus is the President and Managing Principal of MLA Properties. Under Mort’s leadership, MLA has grown from a small real estate family office to an operation that is responsible for managing a diversified portfolio of real estate worth more than $300,000,000.
Mort guided the family into the real estate business in 1975 when he purchased an industrial building to house the family’s legacy apparel business. Over the course of the next several decades, Mort amassed a diversified portfolio of more than 40 properties comprising several million square feet of leasable space, including retail, multifamily, office, and industrial real estate. Mort’s determination to perpetuate and transfer wealth to future generations has been the driving force behind the formation of a dedicated real estate family office. In 2015, he assembled a team and founded MLA Properties with the sole focus of growing the family’s real estate portfolio. Prior to MLA, Mort sat at the helm of his family’s legacy apparel business, Burma Bibas, Inc., which was founded by his father in 1926. Under Mort’s leadership, Burma grew to more than $100,000,000 in annual sales.
Mort, now a retired member of the New York Bar, earned his undergraduate degree from New York University School of Commerce and his LLB from New York Law School. After freshman year of law school, Mort served in the US Army on active duty for six months, and then served for six years in the Army Reserves.
In his spare time, Mort enjoys spending time in Sharon CT, where he watches his wife ride horses and drives classic automobiles including his 1931 Model A, 1972 MGB, and 1984 MB 380SL. Mort has taken great pleasure in creating extraordinary mountain views from his home and improving the surrounding landscape with major help from the caretakers.
Mort is involved in many philanthropic endeavors through the Mortimer & Barbara Klaus Family Foundation and is an active board member at Maimonides Medical Center where he served as Vice Chairman of the board for more than 10 years and Chairman of Medical Matters for 22+ years.
Michael Cohan joined MLA in early 2016 when the company traded out of a legacy asset in Long Island City, NY and later exchanged into 1,000,000 square feet of retail and several thousand apartments. He is responsible for overseeing acquisitions, dispositions, refinancing, and asset management at MLA Properties. Michael plays a key role in driving the firm’s investment strategy and facilitating relationships with capital partners whose interests align with MLA’s long-term vision. Since arriving at MLA, Michael spearheaded the firm’s entry into Arizona where MLA quickly grew to scale and entered into partnerships with institutional investors.
Prior to joining MLA, Michael worked on a credit trading desk at JPMorgan Chase where he covered a wide range of sectors including, real estate, consumer products, financials, and energy. During this time, he developed a sophisticated proficiency in analyzing corporate credit and macroeconomic trends that impact global financial markets. Further, he uses his capital markets knowledge to constantly evaluate how risk profiles in privately traded real estate compare to publicly traded securities.
Michael graduated with honors from University of Pittsburgh with a double major in accounting and finance.
Roman Bekker joined MLA Properties in 2018. He is responsible for the accounting and asset management functions of the company. Roman has over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry, working both in private and public sectors. Prior to joining the MLA team, Roman was a Financial Manager at Cushman & Wakefield, where he was managing multiple clients’ portfolios consisting of commercial and residential class A properties.
Roman is a Certified Public Accountant registered in New York and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College of the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.