Axon, which has made a fortune manufacturing tasers, is flush with cash these days as Axon stock is shattering new records and is currently selling for more than $250 dollars a share up from $98 a share in 2022.
Investor’s Business Daily reports Axon’s third-quarter earnings increased 70%, following 150% and 96% in the prior two quarters. Axon raised its full-year 2023 revenue outlook to $1.55 billion or about 30% annual growth, according to published reports. This is all a very good story for a local company.
But with all that largesse why is Axon trying to squeeze more cash out of its hometown by seeking to rezone land it owns near Hayden and the 101?
Axon bought a 74-acre parcel from the state land department in 2020 for $49.1 million. They said it was to expand its headquarters. But now they want to build nearly 2,000 apartments which would create a windfall for Axon, and traffic nightmares for the neighbors who have come out in droves opposing the rezoning. They are worried that a giant apartment complex will degrade their quality of life and drive down their property values.
Axon bought the land from the state of Arizona at a cut rate. Axon would have paid much more for the property if it was zoned for residential apartments. It’s now asking Scottsdale to rezone the property. Money from the original land sale goes to fund schools. So, if Axon does get the new zoning, it has the effect of shortchanging Arizona schools, big time.
Not a good look from a company that is making money hand over fist selling body cams and tasers.
Axon has indicated it may be willing to cut the state land department a check but we’re still waiting for specifics. But unless it is some $150 million, the approximate value of adding the apartments to the site, then schools will be shortchanged, and a flush corporation enriched.
In many ways, this is just another form of a massive corporate subsidy courtesy of state and Scottsdale taxpayers. No one in Scottsdale should allow Axon to get away with vague promises of future payment. They should be stipulated to an amount in the $150 million range.
Putting that aside, Axon still stands to make outrageous profits in apartment rentals. It all depends on whether the Scottsdale City Council is more interested in backing a billionaire, or hundreds of homeowners don’t want to see their property values, and quality of life, plummet.