Axon Wants Density Subsidies as Its Stock Soars to New Heights

Axon CEO Rick Smith. Photo Credit: Jim Poulin, Phoenix Business Journal

Frequent readers and those in tune to the happenings of Scottsdale already know about the Axon saga: the makers of Taser, once reasonably good partners with the city and stakeholders, have napalmed any and all good faith that they had previously built. The story is bad enough of a look as it is, but it only gets worse when considering their current financial situation.


For those who are less aware, Axon is attempting to circumvent zoning rules and shortchange the taxpayers and education funding in the state through the Arizona State Land Trust with their plan to insert nearly 2,000 apartment units at their headquarters, in an area that can’t support it and doesn’t want it. They are now issuing veiled threats at the city, threatening to take their ball and go home (more accurately, to move their headquarters across the country) if they don’t get their way (read about the entire saga here).

But perhaps the most damning aspect is the performance of the company. Axon’s stock has been on an absolute tear recently; we invite you to check it out for yourself here. As of the time of writing, it is having an excellent month, but one time period does not a trend make. So toggle between a few of the time periods; three months, six months, even one year or five years. The performance is stratospheric.

Axon is flush with cash and with a previously good standing could have likely submitted a reasonable plan for headquarters expansion and remained a strong corporate pillar of Scottsdale. Instead, they sought a backdoor subsidy, that of intense apartment density, even after the taxpayers are poised to help them with their infrastructure.

Mind you, it received nearly $12 million in incentives to stay here in 2020, per the developer agreement signed with Scottsdale then. Its stock price was about $72 at the start of 2020…as of the time of writing, it’s $324.

Scottsdale deserves corporations who understand how to be good neighbors; who understand that compromise with stakeholders is essential and beneficial. It absolutely does not deserve the garbage that Axon is putting all of us through. CEO Rick Smith would do himself, his company, and the entire city a favor by dropping his ridiculous plans, listening to the deafening chorus of unhappy residents, and engaging in some serious reflection regarding how he became so out-of-touch with stakeholders.