Final design details and landscaping around the 13,500-capacity venue have been approved by the council’s city centre plans panel.
The panel also approved a £5.8m plan to refurbish Woodhouse Lane car park, which will act as one of the two key Leeds Arena car parks once the venue opens in early 2013.
Bam started carrying out enabling work in September, but needed full planning before the project could properly start.
Councillor Richard Lewis executive member responsible for city development welcomed both the arena and car park decisions.
He added: “This is a major step forward for the arena project. It means that all the necessary planning and licensing approvals have been secured and everything is in place for building work to start in the spring.
“It was extremely encouraging to receive the positive response to the external and internal designs of the building and the Leeds Arena design will add something really special to Leeds.”
The external honeycomb design of the Leeds Arena will use a unique LED lighting system to bring the building to life at night
Woodhouse Lane multi-storey car will also get a face-lift, expected to cost around £5.8m, funded from the arena budget.