Setting the Standard for Professional
Real Estate Auctions Since 1942


An All-Star 70th Anniversary Year for Local Real Estate Company

As our city enjoys the Major League Baseball All-Star Game hoopla, 70 years ago New York City was in a similar state of mind. The 1942 All-Star Game took place July 6th at the famous Polo Grounds stadium where the American League won the contest 3 to 1. Baseball fans will remember that 1942 was a very good year for Missouri with the St. Louis Cardinals beating the New York Yankees 4 to 1 in the MLB World Series and the Kansas City Monarchs beating the Homestead Grays 4 to 1 in the Negro League World Series.

Also in 1942, in Kearney, Mo., Dean Cates entered the auction business! Now 70 years later, Dean’s grandson, Jeffrey Dean Cates heads the business as president and chief auctioneer. “I’m incredibly proud to be following in my grandfather and father’s footsteps as our company celebrates our 70th anniversary,” Cates said. “I know they would be amazed to see what we’re doing in 2012!”

Cates should be proud. According to Bloomberg Business Week, “about 40 percent of  U.S. family-owned businesses turn into second-generation businesses, but far fewer – approximately 13 percent – are passed down successfully to a third generation.” Unfortunately for many multi-generational businesses a resistance to change brings their eventual demise. Not so at Cates where recent years have seen the addition of professional staff, the launch of new technologies, and a strong “continuous improvement” mentality.

The type of properties and sellers has dramatically expanded along with the company’s strategy. For example, on July 26th, Cates will be selling a former medical diagnostic imaging center located north of  Interstate 70 off 39th Street in Independence, a few blocks from Centerpoint Medical Center. A partnership of doctors owns the attractive 4,367 square foot brick building. No longer needing the building, they chose auction to expedite the sale and reach the largest possible buyer pool. Public inspections of the building are coming up July 12 and 19 from 10:00am to Noon. As with most Cates properties, the building may be purchased at the live on-site auction, via live synchronous online bidding, or by making an offer in advance.

Also on the auction schedule is a three-story, 18,000 square foot office building located in Kansas City’s “Central Business District” at 601 Walnut. It will be sold July 11th.  A 54-acre farm scheduled for auction on July 12th just sold to a buyer who made a “pre-auction” offer which was accepted by the seller. Later in the month a handful of residential investment properties will be sold via an online-only auction event. Details of all upcoming auctions can be found at www.CatesAuction.com.   

“Our company has grown and prospered because we constantly challenge ourselves to find better ways to serve our auction sellers and buyers,” says Cates. The formula is obviously working. Notable sales already completed this year are an executive home on 9 acres, a former aquatics center, a 15,000 square foot office/industrial building, a 38-acre farm, a 120-acre commercial tract, plus a host of other residential, land, and commercial properties in 20 cities around Kansas and Missouri. “It’s been a very busy six months!” says Cates.

The company predicts an equally busy second half of 2012. Properties being evaluated for auction in the next few months include 3 luxury homes, a unique retail/commercial building, a parking garage, and numerous single family homes including several estates. Interested buyers should “like” the company’s Facebook page and/or subscribe to their weekly email alerts for new auction announcements. Interested sellers are encouraged to call the company at 816-781-1134 or submit a web request for a free auction analysis of their properties.

“There are a lot of things my dad and grandfather would be surprised about in our business today,” says Cates. In 1942, the average new home cost in the United States was $3,770. Seventy years later, the average price for a property at Cates Auction exceeds $150,000. “In addition to the obvious changes in sale prices, volume and technology, I’m sure they would never have foreseen the days of a fully staffed office and a professional sales team.” (In fact, openings currently exist for experienced sales people. Job details can be found at www.CatesAuction.com/Sales.)

“I’m grateful for the legacy of the past 70 years and I’m proud to have a very strong team of people in place who are dedicated to our future,” says Cates. The company’s tagline, inaugurated at the beginning of 2012 says it all. “70 Years. 3 Generations. 1 Vision.”



Curious what’s going on in commercial real estate? For a quick quasi-scientific snapshot, type the phrase “commercial real estate” in at www.google.com/trends. What you’ll see is a chart with a pale blue line jaggedly moving from the upper left corner to the lower right depicting search volume.

To serious sellers that line means it’s time to do something different to get their commercial properties sold.  To buyers that same line simply means opportunity. Whether because of the current market conditions, or in spite of them, commercial real estate auctions are increasingly becoming the way for motivated sellers to find qualified buyers.

To address this growing trend, some big name national commercial brokerages have been scrambling to launch their own versions of auction “divisions” within their companies. Others have wisely turned to established professional auction companies for partnership opportunities. “Auction is a specialty, honed over years of experience and transactions. It is not a new product launch or test market initiative!” says Jeff Cates, the third generation owner of North Kansas City-based Cates Auction & Realty Company. Currently celebrating their 70th anniversary, Cates Auction has handled a wide variety of commercial auctions in Kansas and Missouri, including warehouses, retail and restaurant locations, medical offices, strip centers, development and pad sites and even a former hospital.

Cates is enthused about the auction strategy for moving commercial properties in the current market. “When prospective buyers see a Cates Auction sign go up on a property, they can be confident this is the time to buy.” He explains, “Our clients get it. They have embraced the auction strategy and are prepared to sell.”

A perfect example is the upcoming auction sale of a quality 3-story commercial building located at 601 Walnut in Kansas City’s “Central Business District.” Three tenants currently lease approximately 50% of the 18,000 square feet.  Sweetening the deal are two parking lots included in the sale, allowing for 40 parking spaces in addition to street parking.

Prominently located at the corner of Walnut and 6th Street, the building enjoys excellent visibility from I-35 (and sweeping views from inside).  The River Market is a short walk to the north and The Power & Light District is just 7 blocks to the south. Major renovations in 1986 and 2002 have modernized the building while subsequent tenant finishes maximize the aesthetic of exposed brick and the character of warehouse-worn hardwoods.

Industry veteran and principal of Waterford Properties, Chuck Connealy, first recommended the auction strategy and Cates Auction to the building’s owner. "This is an excellent property and I felt like auction was the best method for my client to expedite this sale. Given the location, square footage and condition of the building, along with the included parking lots, this is a terrific buying opportunity in the Kansas City commercial market." 

After researching the auction approach and consulting with the Cates team, the building’s out-of-town owner completely agreed. "The building has been in our family for many years. With a change in family circumstances I recently found myself responsible for the building and I am not interested in being a long distance landlord. We chose auction to maximize exposure of this great building and find the party willing to pay the most for it. I’m excited for auction day!"

The property will be sold on site at auction at 12:30pm, Wednesday, July 11th. The final public preview is scheduled for Thursday, July 5th from 11:00am until 1:00pm. Prospective buyers may also schedule private showings by contacting Cates Auction. Property details, documents, photos and auction terms are available at www.CatesAuction.com/Walnut. As with all Cates properties, a generous buyer’s agency commission is also offered and any party may submit an offer for consideration prior to the auction.

The Cates staff is happy to assist buyers with questions about the property or the auction process at 816.781.1134 or sold@catesauction.com. The company’s website also lists all upcoming auctions including other commercial buildings, land and residential properties. Owners of real estate are encouraged to contact the company to have their properties evaluated for auction.