The local authority wants to acquire the 280,000 sq ft Charter Walk from investors Tristan Capital and Addington Capital.
Burnley Council has approved borrowing for the acquisition and instructed officers to table a bid for the shopping centre.
Minutes from a recent council meeting state that buying the asset “will enable the council to actively manage and regenerate the shopping centre to the benefit of the borough in line with the council’s wider aspirations for the town centre”.
Tristan Capital and Addington Capital put the complex up for sale in the summer, seeking bids of £26.5m for Charter Walk and the 78,000 sq ft Curzon Square opposite.
Savills was appointed to market the opportunity.
Charter Walk is an open-air shopping centre housing retailers including Boots, Wilko, Home Bargains and JD Sports. The scheme also benefits from an income-generating subterranean car park.
Located opposite Charter Walk, Curzon Square is a modern two-storey centre let to Next and Primark.
It is understood that the council’s bid comprises both Charter Walk and Curzon Square but is below the asking price set by the landlords.
Charter Walk is situated next to Maple Grove’s leisure-led development at Pioneer Place, scaled-down plans for which were approved in March.
Cinema operator Reel will anchor that scheme with a seven-screen cinema. Five retail & leisure units comprising a further 12,750 sq ft are also planned.
If Burnley does acquire Charter Walk, it will become the latest authority to take control of a town centre retail scheme to facilitate its regeneration ambitions.
Sefton Council bought the Strand in Bootle for more than £30m in 2017 and has recently appointed consultants Avison Young and K2 Architects to draw up a vision for its redevelopment.
In Prestwich, Bury Council has taken control of the Longfield Centre and is to work with Muse Developments to reinvigorate the complex.
Last year, Oldham Council bought Spindles for a cut-price £9m while in Wigan, the local authority is working with Cityheart and BECGI to revamp the Galleries, having bought it from Luxembourg-based firm Colcastor in 2018.