Developer partnership Westfield/Hammerson’s regeneration project includes proposals for 300 shops, 400-600 homes, new restaurants, a multi-screen cinema and a bowling alley.
The London Borough of Croydon approved the scheme in November 2013.
Greg Clark has now authorised the CPO which will enable Croydon Council to use its powers to purchase the land and interests needed for the redevelopment.
Clark's decision follows the recommendation of a planning inspector, Paul Griffiths, who led the six-week inquiry in February and March of this year.
Tony Newman, leader of the council, said: "The redevelopment of the 1960s Whitgift Centre will reposition Croydon as the best place to shop, live and work in South London and the wider region in the 21st century.
"We are absolutely delighted with today’s decision, and that we can now move forward with the Westfield-Hammerson development."