Jan 24, 2024 - News

Neighbors and airport board bemoan Axon's Scottsdale apartment and hotel project

Illustration of a construction crane lifting another crane, which is lifting another crane, which is lifting another crane.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Axon, the billion-dollar Scottsdale corporation that manufactures Tasers and police body cameras, can move forward with its request to add apartments around its new planned headquarters after getting permission from the Arizona State Land Department.

The intrigue: Axon drew ire from surrounding neighborhoods and real estate professionals last summer when it announced it wanted to build 2,500 apartment units, a hotel and restaurant and retail space surrounding its headquarters.

Catch up quick: Axon purchased the 74-acre parcel near Loop 101 and Hayden Road from the state land department in 2020 for $49.1 million, but it was still subject to a development agreement between the department and city of Scottsdale that prohibits housing on the land.

  • Axon last year asked Scottsdale to allow apartments on the parcel without consulting with the land department, Axios Phoenix reported at the time.
  • The city ultimately hit the brakes on the rezoning request and said Axon had to work with the state land department before it could consider the ask.

The latest: Axon submitted an updated request to Scottsdale in late December that included a letter from the land department granting permission to move forward with the city zoning change process, with the caveat that the land department could revoke the authorization at any time.

  • Axon said the agreement currently prohibiting residential development on its land was crafted in the 1980s and should be updated to accommodate "the Valley's explosive growth over the last four decades," per a statement.

What they're saying: "Axon's planned world headquarters campus furthers the state's goal of growing technology jobs, providing much needed additional housing, attracting out-of-town visitors and supporting a diverse economy," the company said in a statement.

Of note: The updated Axon request included a handful of changes to the original project in response to community feedback — most notably a reduction of more than 25% of the apartment units, the company said.

Yes, but: Several nearby homeowners say they're still not supportive of the project.

  • "We do believe that this development would loom over our homes and flood our local streets with heavy traffic. It will affect our quality of life and most likely would have largely negative impacts on our home values," Susan McGarry, president of Scottsdale Stonebrook II HOA, told the Airport Advisory Commission last week.
  • The commission, which provides recommendations to the city council on proposed developments near the Scottsdale Airport, unanimously recommended the city deny Axon's request last week.
  • Commissioner John Spalj said adding multifamily housing so close to the airport would lead to noise complaints and "threatens the long-term viability of this airport."

What we're watching: Scottsdale's Planning Commission was expected to weigh in on the proposal Wednesday. It will then come before the city council for a final decision.

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