Partnership Brings Chinese Pavilion to Life in St. Paul

Partnership Brings Chinese Pavilion to Life in St. Paul


With a strong ancestral connection between the City of St. Paul, MN and its sister city Changsha, China, locals were motivated to bring a piece of their past to their present. The city worked with the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society when planning the Xiang Jiang Pavilion.

The pavilion planned was a replica of China’s 18th century Aiwan Pavilion and would sit within the first phase of the planned 1.2 acre St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden. Through fundraising and bartering, the Society finally had enough money to build the foundation and kick off project work in Phalen Regional Park.

The next phase required the City of St. Paul to bid out the remainder of the project. This entailed receiving and transporting the pavilion, translating detailed plans and drawings, reassembling the structure and landscaping and final details – all while adhering to Chinese cultural standards. Bids returned with high numbers, ranging from $570k-$680k and all out of the city’s budget, due to language barriers and the level of detail involved in the project. It became clear to the city that it would need to turn to an alternative project delivery method to move forward with this intricate plan.


St. Paul and the Society turned to RAK Construction, Inc. As an awarded ezIQC® contractor through Sourcewell™, RAK had successfully completed multiple projects for the city, so the trust and collaboration needed for this special project was already established. ezIQC is an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) solution available through cooperative purchasing networks that provides public agencies access to competitively awarded contractors.

The first phase of the project required creating a plan to transport the many hand-carved pieces of the pavilion to their final setting—on an island. This kicked off within a week of the on-site joint scope meeting between all project stakeholders. Foot paths were closed, parking lots blocked and the island cleared in order to control crowds attempting to sneak a peek at the highly-anticipated artwork’s arrival.

The second phase of the project brought completely unique challenges. First, the pieces of the pavilion arrived and were moved into place with the help of a team of 12 workers from China. A translator worked to ensure clarity in communication on the job site and translate drawings and written instructions. RAK Construction then worked with consultants who guided the construction processes in order to align all decisions and outcomes with Chinese cultural requirements.

Finally, landscaping and small renovations were completed as the city prepared for unveiling celebrations in Phalen Regional Park.

Partnership Brings Chinese Pavilion to Life in St. Paul 1
Partnership Brings Chinese Pavilion to Life in St. Paul 2

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The completed Xiang Jiang Pavilion required extensive attention to detail, patience and close partnership between contractors and Chinese teams. This significant presence in the St. Paul community represents a strong, proud link between Phalen Regional Park and St. Paul’s sister city, Changsha, China.

The bulk of the project was completed within 90 days and came in at roughly $400,000, at least $170k less than original bids. By utilizing ezIQC, the City of St. Paul and the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society were empowered to complete a project that had been anticipated in the community for 30 years.

“We would not have been a part of this unique project if it wasn’t for our relationship with the city through ezIQC. This will be something that people in the community will look at, worship and enjoy for years, and we’re proud to be involved with something so historic and significant.”

Randy Pederson, Owner of RAK Construction, Inc.