History of the Venetian

The Venetian on the Ortega was originally designed as a riverfront apartment complex in 1968. It is rumored that the 9 floor plans were designed to conform to the 9 Naval rankings because of the proximity to NAS Jacksonville. Originally called the Casa ‘d Oro the architect and owners took on the rather ambitious and uniques idea of dredging a canal through the middle of the property and then building 11 European inspired block and poured concrete buildings around the poured concrete bulkhead creating a unique keyhole feature at the end of the canal where theĀ  two story clubhouse was built.

The design created two distinctly captivating features: boats could turn freely and drop guest off at the clubhouse and nearly every unit in the community had a “view” of the scenic canal and the Ortega River beyond.

Many Jacksonville “Westsiders” have either stayed at the Venetian at one time or another or had a friend that lived at the Venetian and have fond and interesting memories of their youth!

The name was changed at some point to Hidden Harbor and in many ways the name was fitting because most people driving on Timuquana Rd (103rd) do not realize that a beautiful harbor exists in the middle of the community like a pearl in an oyster. In 2004 the entire complex was purchased and converted to the Venetian On The Ortega Luxury Condos. The units were gutted and upgraded to “luxury” status with tile, granite, copper ceiling kitchens and the like. The addition of the wine cellar, business and fitness center, sauna were added to realize the properties full luxury waterfront potential. Unfortunately a problem that had plagued the property for years, an outdated waste water system, was not repaired and resulted in front page headlines. The Community and it’s Board Of Directors pulled together and worked tirelessly with the developer to not only obtain a settlement but then implement a strategy to permanently repair the problem, the work being completed in 2007.

The property has since reverted back to the old status of near full occupancy and long term rental residents always on the look out to “change up” to a better view or larger unit.

The natural beauty of the surroundings tugs and entices “the young and young at heart”. Boaters, kayakers, naturalists and fishermen see the perfect logic of owning a boat so close to the heart of Jacksonville that is anchored right in their own backyard. The tradition of the annual migration of the manatee families, ducks and ducklings, geese and even bass in the canal provide enjoyment and perspective for residents that continue to live here.

One could opine that the Venetian On the Ortega may some day be historic as one of the most unique Florida boating and Marina properties and we hope that one day a new generation will remember fondly the “good times” they had at the Venetian. Welcome!