Md.’s Progressive Radiology expands to Illinois

One of the largest radiologist-owned practices in the Washington area is getting bigger, expanding its practice to the Chicago area.

Progressive Radiology, which dates back to 1975, recently acquired five Illinois magnetic resonance imaging centers from MIDI.

The expansion is a big one. Progressive said it is expecting the number of MRI procedures to increase by 17 percent, and the number of facilities to increase by nearly a third.

“We think our business model, providing good doctors, advanced technology, a high level of service and good medicine, will lead to growth at these [Chicago] centers,” said Mark Monteferrante, a physician and managing partner and part-owner of Progressive. “We are not a mill.”

The acquisition is part of a growing trend in which physicians are becoming entrepreneurs, buying and running outpatient medical facilities formerly run by investors, who are fleeing parts of the sector. Progressive, which has 18 radiologists, most of whom are owners in the business, competes with Inova Health System, MedStar Health and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Progressive is also using the acquisition to diversify its revenue stream beyond Maryland to a state such as Illinois, where reimbursement rates for Medicare and workers’ compensation are higher.

“The economic environment [in Illinois] is more favorable compared with Maryland,” Monteferrante said. “Maryland is a much more liberal state that puts a lot more pressure on the docs.”

Progressive’s acquisition of a Midwest company came about, in part, because Progressive’s chief executive, Adam Starr, used to work at MIDI and has kept in contact with them.

“The economic environment in medicine is becoming more difficult every year,” Monteferrante said. “That’s leading to a lot of consolidation. People are now trying to do more with less.”

Privately held Progressive has 11 sites in the Washington area and employs 100 locally. One of its centers is in the Foxhall area of the District, and 10 are in Maryland, making it the second-largest outpatient provider in Maryland.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The Buzz Hears:

Martin Ringlein, co-founder of Crystal City-based Nvite, an online ticket and registration platform, closed a $1 million seed round led by Paul Singh’s Crystal Tech Fund as well as Middle Bridge Partners, NextGen Angels and Middleland Capital, all Washington area investors. Ringlein’s advisers include John Bracken (founder of eVite) and Alex Michael (former vice president of business development at Ticketmaster). Ringlein’s start-up is expected to open at the end of July. He is a former White House Presidential Innovation Fellow.

Carl Verstandig, chief executive of America’s Realty, is in talks with several large grocery chains for space at Iverson Mall in Hillcrest Heights, which he purchased this month for $27 million, or about $43 per square foot. Negotiations are also underway with Roses Department Store for 70,000 square feet and with Price Buster Furniture. Marc Tropp of Eastern Union Funding’s Maryland office arranged the 4.4 percent, seven-year loan.

New furniture retailer

Mauro Gibellini, 48, was born in Switzerland and was an analyst at Goldman Sachs in Europe for more than three years.

The entrepreneur recently partnered with local businessman Steve Corbeille to open a furniture store, Nest 301, on Rockville Pike in North Bethesda.

Gibellini, who is married with two children, is moving back to Washington next year from Houston. He owns 34 motorcycles, including a 1990 Cagiva/Ducati.

We asked Gibellini a few questions in a recent e-mail exchange. Here are some of his answers, edited for length and content:

So how does a Goldman Sachs person end up selling furniture?

I got tired of the daily grind and wanted to explore and fulfill my creative capabilities. Growing up in Italy, I was surrounded by beautiful design. It’s something I’ve always appreciated.

Steve was decorating my house in Potomac, and we found ourselves looking for certain luxury home brands in the area. We were surprised that no one in the D.C. area was carrying those brands, and decided we would be the ones to introduce them to the area.

What attracted you to the Washington area furniture market?

Washingtonians have excellent taste and are exposed to so much culture, we knew that Nest would fill a void. The D.C. market demands diversity and lots of choices.

Where does the name Nest 301 come from?

Steve’s wife came up with Nest to describe the feeling of a cozy home; 301 is the area code where the store is located.

What clients are you targeting?

Newcomers. The young professionals and ones with discerning taste for something different and exclusive. Clients [that are] open to exploring new brands and trends. That’s really why we need 14,000 square feet.

What is your price point?

Our price point runs the gamut from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars.

Factoid of the Week:

8,031 That’s the number of out-of-town visiting spectators who are expected to attend the CitiOpen tennis tournament, which runs July 26 through Aug. 3 at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center. Each spectator is expected to watch an average of 2.58 days of tennis, per person, infusing $6.8 million into the local economy, according to Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of tourism and sports management at George Washington University.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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