And businesses operating from the existing buildings have now been evicted to allow demolition to start, although concerns have been raised about the state of the area.
'We were supposed to get a six-month extension but that never happened,' Sian Marie Stott, the owner of owner of S&D Sparkles, said. 'Then in November we were all given 30 days to leave.
'It's very sad – Bon Marche has gone, Superdrug is closing later this month – the whole area has turned into a bit of a dumping ground.'
Objections were made to the planning application by the businesses who warned the scheme would be 'the final nail in the coffin' for retail in Arundel Street.
But developer Fusion Students said its scheme met the demand for student accommodation and that it would provide shop units that 'will ensure Arundel Street remains active'.
A spokesman for the company said that it was almost ready to begin construction.
'Our plans for Arundel Street will provide much-needed, high-quality purpose-built student accommodation in the heart of the city centre,' they said. 'We have now finalised our plans and are working with Portsmouth City Council to begin construction as soon as possible, providing hundreds of jobs in the construction of the building and in the supply.
'The development will provide homes for 591 students for the 2025 academic year, alongside retail space, and provide a significant boost to the Portsmouth's economy, as well as revitalise the frontages of Arundel, Yapton and Slindon Streets.'
The development equates to about a quarter of the total number of homes required to be built in the city every year under controversial government housing targets.
It was approved by the council's planning committee in August.