Towers of up to 15 storeys will be built overlooking Preston Park, despite hundreds of objections from residents over the plans.
Developer First Base has been given the go ahead for its plans to demolish the derelict Anston House - which it called ‘the ugliest building in Sussex’ - into a 229-home complex with office space, retail units and a cafe.
But 465 residents objected to the scheme - 13 wrote in support - largely over the height of the proposed buildings.
Objector Mr Shaw told the council’s planning committee on Wednesday: “You’re voting about the future of central Brighton. This is a vote about precedent. If this development goes ahead it will set the scale of development in this part of Brighton and probably beyond.”
Cllr Kevin Allen, who represents the Preston Park ward on the council echoed these fears, and said the plans would start the ‘Manhattanisation’ of the area by setting a precedent of allowing tall buildings.
There were also concerns about the low number of affordable homes - fewer than 20 per cent - set to be delivered in the scheme.
But many councillors on the committee spoke of the need to develop the site, which has stood empty for 30 years.
Cllr Julie Cattell, chair of the planning committee, said: “I want to see this site developed, it’s hideous. And we do need new houses. We have got to go up.”
Councillors on the committee voted nine for the application and three against.
Elliot Lipton, managing director at First Base, said: “We are pleased that our plans for Anston House have been approved and we can get on with bringing the derelict site back into use.
“We look forward to continuing to work with residents, businesses and Brighton and Hove City Council over the coming years to ensure that our plans can be a major contributor to the city’s future success.”
First Base, which will work with housing association Hyde to deliver the project, said the development would create 283 jobs and £139 million of investment to the local economy.