Croydon Council has spent over 50 million of public money to buy the freehold of the Colonnades retail and leisure park off the Purley Way.
The retail park is expected to make about £1.4m a year for the council – which it says will go towards funding essential services.
Last month it was announced that the council needs to find £26 million of savings in the next four years to balance its books.
The purchase follows another council commercial investment, the buying of the freehold of the Croydon Park Hotel, near East Croydon Station at a cost of £31.4million which is expected to bring in £1m a year. The council believes that by buying up freeholds and charging commercial rents, they can generate income towards providing services.