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National REIT investor buys two Orlando car washes at premiums

A photo of Bill's Car Wash & Detailing Center on Colonial Drive, one of two local car wash properties recently acquired by a national investor.
A photo of Bill's Car Wash & Detailing Center on Colonial Drive, one of two local car wash properties recently acquired by a national investor.(Orange County Property Appraiser)

Two Colonial Drive car washes in Orlando sold within the past week to Spirit Master Funding X LLC for a combined $8.5 million, an affiliate of Arizona-based Spirit Realty Capital, a real estate investment trust.

The seller of both car washes was Florida Auto Wash Inc., for which incorporation documents list Bill C. Walker as president. Walker could not be found at the car washes on Friday, and employees said the ownership had already been transferred to the Spirit affiliate.

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The first property, a 2.51-acre site at 12104 E Colonial Dr. home to Bill's Car Wash & Detailing Center, was built in 2001. Spirit paid $4.6 million for the business, more than double its previous purchase price of $2.1 million in 2006, according to Orange County sale records.

The second car wash, Splash Express, at 7958 E. Colonial Dr., was built on 1.24 acres in 2005, sold for $3.9 million on the same day. That parcel's last qualified sale was for $2.3 million in 2007, an increase of about 70 percent in nine years.

Spirit Realty Capital did not return calls Friday seeking information about whether it is investing in car washes in other parts of the country.

Spirit's business model is to buy single tenant real estate assets and lease them to the operators. Its website says 6.5 percent of its revenues come from convenience stores and car washes.

The International Carwash Association says the number of car washes in the U.S. are a reaction to the fact that few people wash their cares at home any more.

It is estimated that total annual car wash sales revenue exceeds $24 billion, the Carwash Association website says. "Consumers are increasingly turning to professional car washing, with those who wash their cars at home declining significantly over the last 10 years."

Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955 or at Teresaburney4@gmail.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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