They say that the black cloud which hangs over the Rock of Gibraltar on even the sunniest day will disappear as soon as the Rock is returned to Spain. In the meantime, Gibraltarians have learned to live with it, and as Matthew Legge, sales manager of Taylor Woodrow, cheerfully points out: ?We have all sorts of issues hovering over us?from new European taxation legislation to the ongoing border dispute with Spain?but nothing has affected us as yet.?

On the contrary, Mr Legge says, financial and gaming companies continue to base themselves in Gibraltar, and property sales are booming. This is no mere sales patter, for Taylor Woodrow have underlined their long-term commitment to Britain?s last outpost of empire by buying a large chunk of Gibraltar?s Marina Bay car park on which to create a £30 million residential and commercial complex. It is due to be launched early next month (November 2004), with completion scheduled for 2007. One of the biggest capital development projects ever undertaken in Gibraltar, the complex, named Tradewinds, will consist of three towers, echoing Taylor Woodrow?s Montevetro building in London.

Designed by London architects McCusker Storey McIntosh, the dazzling, 16-storey Tradewinds building, with its glass and terracotta façade, will be one of the tallest on the Rock, cutting a new imposing presence on the Gibraltar skyline. The three towers, called Nimbus, Cirrus and Cumulus, will house 83 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses?40 in the first phase of construction. Even before the launch, Taylor Woodrow have been ?amazed? at the number of would-be purchasers lining up to buy.

Unlike other developments in Gibraltar, all the apartments will have marina and sea views, as well as ?copious amounts of light, air and space? in the interiors designed by Kirsten Williams of London-based Reid Williams.

Penthouse owners will have the added benefit of mezzanine areas, which will slip into the unusually high ceilings to give residents a simultaneous double panoramic view from the raised area. Prices are expected to range from about £280,000 for the smallest apartment, to more than £1m for a penthouse. Initial viewings of the plans and models can be arranged at Taylor Wood- row?s Queensway Quay headquarters (00 350 40550), although it is the company?s intention to move its entire operation to Marina Bay in early 2005.

In the meantime, Taylor Wood-row have virtually sold out at their other recent developments in Gibraltar. These include The Cliftons, a spectacular conversion of the former waterfront hospital into four main buildings. They are Orchid House, where one penthouse at £775,000 remains; Clifton Mews, where all three townhouses have been sold; Edward House, an original building converted into two apartments and a penthouse, the latter still for sale at £575,000; and High-cliffe House, a new building of 25 apartments and penthouses, of which 10 remain, ranging from a 1,089sq ft, two-bedroom apartment at £345,000, to a 2,650sq ft penthouse at £865,000.

All that remains unsold at Rock Gardens, the conversion of a former service building next to the Rock Hotel into 20 apartments and penthouses, is the final batch of two three-bedroom apartments and two penthouses, the latter still available at about £600,000.