The selected team will work in consultation with the Somerstown area's 9000 residents to draw up a regeneration framework for the area. The council's invitation to tender said: "Somerstown exhibits high levels of deprivation derived from excessive crime rates, poverty and the built environment."
The Richard Rogers-led urban taskforce visited the area in March 1999.
Portsmouth council believes that a mixture of demolition and refurbishment of the dwellings might be necessary, as well as measures for improving public transport links.
The council expects the chosen team to start work on the plans next month.
Somerstown exhibits high levels of deprivation
Council planning officer Phil Salmon said: "We are hoping in the next week or two that a team will be confirmed, which will then prepare a masterplan and action plan for Somerstown." The teams made presentations to a 10-person panel two weeks ago. Several teams were later asked to lower their fees for the project to within the council's £50,000 budget. It is understood that some fees came to as much as £100,000.
Bidders have been impressed with the size and location of the 1500 m2 scheme. One said: "The issue of location is fairly important – the site is right by the city centre."
The mixture of bidders has surprised some teams. Another bidder said: "The council could go for a classic housing architect-led or even a property consultant-led team."
The scheme pits rivals HTA and PRP against each other for the second time in recent weeks.