THREE of the Land Development Corporation's (LDC) giant joint venture urban redevelopment projects with the private sector are slipping seriously behind schedule. Its huge Mongkok redevelopment in conjunction with Great Eagle is now officially scheduled for completion in 2001, four years later than originally planned. LDC chief executive Abraham Razack said the project, which spans Argyle Street and Shanghai Street, was originally pencilled for completion in 1997. Similarly, the LDC's Waterloo Road-Yunnan Lane redevelopment in Yau Ma Tei with Sun Hung Kai Properties, also originally targeted for completion in 1997, is not expected to be ready until 2003. The LDC still has 1997 marked down as the official completion date for its 72-storey office development in Jubilee Street-Queen's Road, Central, but analysts believe this is impossible. 'If you go and look at the site it is still a hole in the ground,' said HG Asia property analyst Franklin Lam. 'There's no way that it could be completed by 1997.' Delays in each of the three cases seem to boil down to problems with bureaucracy and evicting existing tenants to acquire land. 'It's not surprising some of these projects are hugely delayed,' says property analyst and Morgan Stanley Asia managing director Peter Churchouse. 'The LDC had to go out and embark on ambitious projects to attract the private sector developers to put up lump-sum money up front.' The larger the project is, the harder it is to acquire all the land from the thousands of separate owners and residents living in the various tenement blocks targeted for redevelopment. With LDC joint ventures, the private sector developer is normally expected to make a down payment to help get the project under way, while the LDC takes on responsibility to acquire the land. While the LDC does have special land resumption powers, the process is long-winded, time-consuming and bureaucratic. The LDC's five other joint venture urban renewal schemes with the private sector are believed to be progressing as planned. However, those three delays alone are likely to have a significant impact on the territory's overall property supply figures for the next few years, mainly because of their ambitious size. The Cheung Kong development in Central would be Hong Kong's third largest building when completed, towering 72-storeys and offering 1.39 million square feet gross floor area of retail and office space, and community facilities. If this is late coming on stream, the looming glut in office supply around the transition in sovereignty in 1997 may not be as bad as once feared. The Great Eagle project in Mongkok will provide a total of 1.82 million sq ft gross floor area of new commercial, office and community facilities housed in three towers. Great Eagle hopes to complete the first of the three towers by 1999, but now does not expect to finish the whole project until after the turn of the century. Property analysts had expected completion to be late - having been made aware of some of the LDC's problems - but not that late. The LDC is expected to serve compulsory purchase orders on the last remaining tenants and residents in the area by the end of this year, which would finally allow construction to begin. 'At the moment it doesn't look like Great Eagle is going to get its hands on the site until the end of next year,' Mr Churchouse said. On completion, the Mongkok development is expected to comprise a total of 1.4 million sq ft of office space, 322,900 sq ft of commercial retail space, and 83,400 sq ft of open space and government and community facilities. It had originally included a large element of residential space. This has now been waived in favour of additional offices. Provision will also be made for bird stalls to compensate for the loss of so-called Bird Street in the redevelopment plan. Sun Hung Kai's Yau Ma Tei project was put back because of a proposal to run a new cross-Kowloon road through the earmarked site. The dispute has now been resolved, and a new route south of the site has been decided on, but the size of the development has been radically scaled back. Now just the 45,000 sq ft site will be developed, instead of 286,000 sq ft. The original plan had envisaged a total of 2.7 million sq ft of retail, office, hotel and residential space on the site. There will now be just 424,000 sq ft of gross floor area comprising retail, office and community facilities. With these and other stalled projects being undertaken purely by the private sector, the projected office-supply picture for the next few years needs to be rewritten.