MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’ve driven through the Twin Cities lately, you’ve probably noticed some major construction projects — and we’re not talking road construction.

Some large-scale buildings are in the works. Twin Cities Premium Outlets near Highway 13 and Highway 77 in Eagan is one of the projects. It’s set to open in August, and has provided jobs to 400 construction workers.

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After 15 years of laying bricks, Mike Heien has also seen some heavy times.

“It’s pretty slow. Worked two months, sit home for a month, work two months, sit home for a month,” Heien said.

He is one of the workers on the new outlet mall. Peter Lund is the general manager of the soon-to-open stores. He says his team was assembled early, but he’s told now there’s a wait.

“For instance, the masonry workers here, if you had a project you were trying to get started today, it’d probably take six weeks before you could find workers to get started on those projects,” Lund said.

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Heien says several workers were recruited from outside of Minnesota.

“Our company brought a bunch of workers from Michigan in, hired people from another state and had them come here to work,” Heien said.

Collin Barr, the regional president of Ryan Construction, says things aren’t “great” but they are “good.” He says he would not call this a boom.

“We’re still just now getting to the construction activity level we had in 2007 for the metro area,” Barr said.

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He says his company is up about 10 percent from last year. He says it’s a healthy upswing, a reflection of the local economy and a reason to smile.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield