Two local cruise lines—Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline—have opened their new corporate headquarters in downtown Chicago on the 15th floor of 303 E. Wacker Drive. The new headquarters is steps away from the cruise lines’ docking area on the city’s vibrant Riverwalk and a convenient walk from Chicago’s First Lady Cruises’ partner, the Chicago Architecture Center.
“As one of the first permanent tenants of the Riverwalk, we are happy to call Chicago home for our new headquarter operations,” said Holly Agra, president of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and vice president of sister cruise line, Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline. “Our headquarters will bring us even closer to our tours that connect tourists to Chicago’s rich culture, and will allow us to give back even more to the city that has supported us for 84 years.”
The 9,800-square-foot space, designed by Collective Office, features both private and open concept office space and graphics of various vantage points of the Chicago River wrapped on interior walls to reflect the essence of the cruise lines. It also includes a test kitchen for mixing new and creative cocktail recipes available aboard the tour boats.
The companies’ relationship to the river further inspired the design through the repeating sawtooth glass enclosure for the office fronts, with a layering of interior landscaping. RTM Engineering Consultants was the MEP engineer on the project while Bear Construction acted as general contractor.
The companies’ previous Palatine, Illinois location was its headquarters for 40 years. Staff at the Palatine office, along with those who worked from an ancillary office in Chicago, have now merged and work from the new headquarters. The companies anticipate bringing an additional 10 jobs to Chicago, with a total of 25 employees working from the headquarters. The cruise lines employ 175 staff members at the height of the river cruise season.
Celebrating 26 years as partners, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and the Chicago Architecture Center launched their 2019 season for the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady on March 30, 2019. Mercury Cruises began its 84th season on April 29, 2019. Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and Mercury Cruises are fourth-generation family-owned and operated.