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After decades in the Central West End, legal aid agency prepares for a move downtown

Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
The Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse, left, the Carnahan Courthouse, center back, and the Civil Courts building, right, are pictured on Jan. 26 as seen from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri's new headquarters at the Peabody Plaza building in downtown St. Louis.

One of the largest agencies providing free legal assistance in the St. Louis area is getting a new home.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri moved into its current building on Forest Park Avenue, near IKEA, 28 years ago. But as it began offering more programs and serving more clients, it ran out of room. The new office sits on the 11th and 12th floors of the Peabody Tower, at 701 Market St. in downtown.

The space has several advantages, including a number of personal offices, which are necessary for client-attorney confidentiality, said LSEM Executive Director Dan Glazier. It is also just blocks from three courthouses, as well as being closer to many of the agency’s partner organizations.

The new location is also easier to get to, said Sandra Keys, a former LSEM client and a member of the board. Until the Cortex MetroLink station was built in 2018, the nearest stops were each about a mile away. Now, the 8th and Pine stop will be just a tenth of a mile away.

“There are several bus lines that are at the Civic Center station,” she said, “and then the highways as well.”

The agency owns its current space outright, Glazier said, so renting will be a bit of an adjustment.

“Obviously, that will be more of a recurring expense in that regard,” he said. “But then we won't have some of the maintenance and upkeep issues that you have when you own your own building.”

Glazier said the organization is finishing up with painting and building a new accessible bathroom. He hopes to complete the move in early February.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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