Case Study - Tidal Wave

Sale-leaseback with large car wash operator

Tidal Wave Auto Spa

W. P. Carey provides sale-leaseback capital to fund company's expansion plans


Tenant Description: Founded in 1999, Tidal Wave Auto Spa is one of the top five conveyor car wash companies in the U.S.

Total Investment: $104 million

Transaction Type: Sale-leaseback*

Location: U.S. (13 states)

Facility Type: 22 state-of-the-art express car wash facilities

Green Features: Water recycling technology


W. P. Carey closed a $48 million sale-leaseback (May 2023) and a $56 million follow-on sale-leaseback (November 2023) of car wash facilities with Tidal Wave Auto Spa, one of the top five conveyor car wash companies in the U.S. The first sale-leaseback comprised nine completed and two to-be-completed express car wash facilities located across the U.S. The follow-on sale-leaseback later than year was for included an additional seven completed and four to-be-completed express car washes. The car washes are located in attractive areas largely insulated from competition and benefiting from strong vehicle traffic and proximity to big box retail stores.


Tidal Wave Auto Spa facilities feature built-in technology to reclaim and recycle water, thereby reducing waste. Its high-pressure washes use just 32 gallons of water per car, compared to the average 93 gallons used when washing a car at home.


Sale-leaseback proceeds were used to repay development costs and support Tidal Wave Auto Spa's expansion plans. The transaction marked W. P. Carey’s first investment in car washes—a sector benefiting from good cash flow dynamics and strong rent coverage.


*In a sale-leaseback, a company sells its real estate to an investor like W. P. Carey for cash and simultaneously enters into a long-term lease. In doing so, the company extracts 100% of the property’s value and converts an otherwise illiquid asset into working capital to reinvest in its business or pay down debt, while maintaining operational control.