Westin Hotel rolls out red carpet

      For 260 people in Birmingham, this day is their first day at work.

      The Westin Hotel, set to open February 14 welcomed its employees with a red carpet kick-off event.

      One by one, employees of the Westin Birmingham walked down the red carpet for their first day on the job.

      It's that "celebrity culture", that general manager Mark Noyes wants to ingrain in the hotel and to carry over into the surrounding "Uptown" entertainment district."We think this is going to be a game changer for Birmingham," said Noyes. "We think that Birmingham will now become more of a destination for markets that we weren't able to reach out to before."More than 3,000 people applied for 260 positions. Noyes says the booming hospitality industry in Alabama provides great opportunities. "Anyone interested in the hospitality industry, this is a transferable management career," says Noyes.Along with creating new jobs, Noyes says the hotel will be a driving force in bringing tourism, and traveling business to the downtown area."I think this is going to create a destination for Birmingham, unlike any other of the southern cities, that now Birmingham can flourish," Noyes says.Tad Snider director of the BJCC says, the "Uptown" entertainment district is already generating a buzz from the business community. "We have secured more letters of intent than we have available space. That's always a good position to be in," Snider says. "So now, it's just a matter of working through those deals and finalizing them. But the pace is great, we are very optimistic."