The first thing Edward Boydston of Vallejo intends to do with his new building is to put an American flag back on the flag pole.

A local property owner and long-time Vallejoan, Boydston, 83, won a short bidding war to buy the former Vallejo Veterans Memorial Building at 444 Alabama St.

The oral bidding contest took place Tuesday at the Solano County Board of Supervisors. Boydston emerged on top with the winning bid of $320,000 -- well above the minimum bid of $25,000.

The historic building, which opened in 1929, and once attracted big name entertainers and thousands of veterans, has sat vacant for more than 10 years.

Boydston said he's aware the building is in big need of repairs and renovations but he's excited about restoring it and making it available to artists, business offices and a wine-tasting room to attract Napa Valley wine region visitors.

"I'm a Korean War veteran. That building is just so sad looking and I would really like to fix it up and get the flag up on the pole," Boydston said Wednesday.

"I was going to pay whatever it took to buy it," said Boydston, who has lived in Vallejo since he was in junior high school.

Exact plans for the building have not yet been finalized, but Boydston said he wants a use which will "lend itself to the community." He also owns property on Carolina and Marin streets, and added he's been interested in the old vets hall for years.

Good friend and neighbor Marie Cappello, who accompanied Boydston to the supervisors' meeting, said he "loves the building" and wants to restore it to its "former glory."

Solano County put out the veterans building to bid in August with a minimum bid of $25,000 due to the major need for extensive repairs and renovations -- an estimated $24 million. County officials opened sealed written bids Tuesday and then opened the floor for oral bids, a process which drew three other bidders.

Supervisors accepted Boydston's bid and declared a 30-day closing period to allow him to conduct a more detailed inspection. If he chooses to back out of the purchase during escrow, the county will accept the next highest bidder, Solano County Real Estate Manager Keith Hanson said.

County Supervisor Erin Hannigan, who held a community meeting on the future of the historic structure, said she hopes to meet with Boydston and discuss his plans.

"My hope is that he decides to work with the neighborhood and determine what would be the best use and the best fit. He's a veteran. He lives in town and which is a bonus and he's already invested in the city of Vallejo through his other property holdings," Hannigan said.

Hannigan added she is pleased the building sold well above the minimum bid requirement, particularly since it will have a higher tax value and start generating more income for the county.

In 2005 the last of the veterans groups, related to the basement due to damage to the upper floors, moved out of the old building and into their current facility on Admiral Callaghan. A structural analysis concludes the building is in good condition for its age but portions must be improved to meet modern building codes.

Contact staff writer Sarah Rohrs at srohrs@timesheraldonline.com or (707) 553-6832. Follow her on Twitter @SarahVTH.