1987 was a year of transition for Bentley, when it saw its fewest number of new projects, at less than 15. Restaurant projects declined significantly as General Mills worked to transform the design of its signature restaurants.
This created the need for a new market strategy, leading Bentley to fewer, but larger, retail development projects. In this new pursuit, Bentley acquired Kmart corporation as a direct client. Bentley’s restaurant experience served the company and its clients well in providing mixed-use tenant retail space within regional shopping centers.
Near the end of 1987, the company made another strategic decision to pursue public sector work, starting with the Florida Department of Transportation. This decision would prove to be a total success for the company’s profitability for many years to come.
As the company continued to grow, Bentley moved from its original office on the 15th floor of the Hartford Building in downtown Orlando to a small temporary location at 750 W. Colonial Drive. Later in the year, the office would move again to the Koger Center on Maguire Boulevard in Orlando.
As Bentley started working with public agencies and diversifying its portfolio, the first public project was awarded to perform renovations to Welcome Centers on I-95 and I-75 and to rest areas along I-10 and US 19 in District 2. This niche fit the company well and has been growing ever since.
Bentley also continued providing services for large box retail facilities with great success, including for newer clients from within larger projects, such as Bealls Department Stores.