The council is investing £43.8m in Kirkby buying and redeveloping the site. It is borrowing the money and intends to repay the debt from rental income and re-sale of some land.
It has bought from St Modwen 12.4 acres of existing town centre, with 87 shops.
Contractor GMI Construction, which had already been lined up by St Modwen, will now start work on 9th December on the construction of 94,000 sq ft of new retail space, including a new Morrisons supermarket, petrol station, new retail / food outlets and improved car parking.
In addition to the retail development in the town centre, there are plans for a cinema development on the former Kirkby Library site on Newtown Gardens and the council is looking to buy a Knowsley Community College site on Cherryfield Drive as part of the college’s ambitions to open a new facility in the town centre.
Council leader Graham Morgan said: “In taking control of Kirkby town centre, we are now in a position to be able to bring forward the retail development which our residents need, and which we promised. “e have always been committed to regenerate Kirkby Town Centre and we have shared the frustrations of many of our residents over the years. This is the single biggest property investment which the council has ever made and we hope that it sends a strong message to our communities that we are behind them and will do everything we can to deliver the positive changes they want.”