Curious what’s going on in commercial real estate? For a quick quasi-scientific snapshot, type the phrase “commercial real estate” in at 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 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 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.

Sign up for weekly Auction Updates!


I chose Cates because of their reputation and the encouragement of friends who have used them in the past. The Cates staff can only be described as professional, knowledgeable and service oriented. Jeff and his staff took care of everything. They covered all bases and took into consideration every …
Phil McCauley
We are Kansas City's oldest and most experienced real estate auction company specializing in accelerated real estate sales in Missouri and Kansas, including Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, Kansas City, Lee's Summit, Olathe, Blue Springs, Independence, Liberty, Kearney, Parkville, Smithville, Gladstone, Clay County, Platte County, Jackson County, Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Leavenworth County, Cass County, Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Ozark, Sunrise Beach, Osage Beach, Four Seasons, Shawnee Bend, Miller County, Camden County, and around the Midwest. Kansas City auctioneers with regional expertise!