The long-shuttered historic (and allegedly haunted) La Hacienda restaurant is getting a new life.

After almost two decades of sitting empty, a local nonprofit has plans to transform the 4-acre property into a multi-use space with a café, an events and meeting room, an outdoor courtyard, and a short-term guest house.

The old restaurant building hasn’t had a whole lot of tender loving care over the years, but now the nonprofit organization Abara wants to give it new life.

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'Abara House'

The vision for the large property per the institute’s website, is a “Borderland Center” with a café/cantina, venue space and outdoor meeting place for conferences, training seminars, events, etc.

A marketplace for local artisans, “contemplative gardens and pathways,” a chapel, labyrinth, and guest apartments that people will be able to rent for short-term stays is also part of the project.

They’re hoping to open "Abara House" in the next two to five years, but much of the timeline and what they can transform will depend on how much and how quickly funds can be raised.

The cost to renovate, transform, and redevelop the property is estimated to be between 12 and 15 million dollars.

Its Historic and Haunted Past

Kevin Vargas
Kevin Vargas

La Hacienda sits on the river banks of the Rio Grande just off Paisano where Don Juan Onate crossed from what is now Mexico to what is now Texas on his journey north.

Built in 1849 it was a private residence for hundreds of years before morphing into a stage coach stop, then some say a brothel, and finally in 1940, a public restaurant.

Over the years, when it was still a bustling restaurant and bar, stories of the wait staff seeing plates and silverware move on their own, and hearing footsteps when there was no one else around were common. Doors were said to open and close on their own, and some even claimed to hear disembodied voices.

Back in 2009, a couple of brave KISS-FM staff members (not me!) along with Henry Flores and a few fellow members of his Paso Del Norte Paranormal Society spent a night there to see how much truth there was to the stories. Below are a couple of EVPs that were recorded during the investigation.

Horse's hoof steps ...

Here it is again with much of the hiss and background noise removed ...

The Perverted Ghost. By far the most interesting thing caught on tape that night was what I have since referred to as the Perverted Ghost. I dubbed it that because as the crew was discussing a reading on one of their gadgets, you could clearly hear someone or something voice it’s approval of the lady in the group.

"Oh Yeah" ...

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