The Southampton City Gateway project was held up over a row about planning with Bouygues refusing to guarantee that students would not park in the area.
Councillors have now finally passed the project without any guarantee. It will provide 350 student beds in the Swathyling area of the city.
On either side of the main tower, wings are planned for shops and a new health facility.
Bouygues-owned builder Warings will start work on the £20m building contract later this year.