Cheshire West & Chester Council has acquired the lease of the 66,000 sq ft Weaver Square Shopping Centre, which was left half-empty when its previous owner ceased trading in 2012.
As owners of the freehold of the land, the council successfully negotiated with receivers, Colliers International, for the formal surrender of the 99-year ground lease for Weaver Square.
The authority's estates management team will become landlord to the 22 tenants in the precinct, with 21 units currently vacant.
Weaver Square shopping centre is located near other land interests owned by CWAC, including the Market Hall, Victoria Club car park and the vacant Watling Street office building.
Cheshire West & Chester Council will now begin a review of its longer term plans for Weaver Square and the adjoining properties looking at their strategic value in the regeneration of the town centre.
Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and economy, said: "We are very much aware of local concerns over the condition of Weaver Square – particularly with a view to its strategically important position in the town centre.
"Baron's Quay and Memorial Court will represent the new face of Northwich and we need to ensure that any future development will meet our aspirations and complement and enhance the exciting plans already under way.
"All current tenants will remain in the shopping centre under the terms of their current agreement and we will be talking to them, together with other stakeholders in the near future."