Berrien County may be on the verge of losing another golf course along the St. Joseph River as word comes of the sale of the finely manicured Signal Point Club in Niles has been sold to several investors including a real estate broker, building contractor and others, with indicators it might be converted to upscale residential home sites going forward.
It was just a year and a half ago that we reported here on Moody on the Market in July of 2018 that the owners of South Bend’s Blackthorn Golf Club had acquired Signal Point to add to their stable which also includes a the popular Blarney Hole in the Toscana Park center in Granger, as well as Spirited in downtown South Bend.
The South Bend Tribune has reported this weekend, however that Jim Ringler, a Senior Broker at Cressy Commercial Real Estate Services had learned a couple of months ago that principal Tim Firestone had shown an interest in selling the course.
He reportedly moved quickly to connect with an old Brandywine High School buddy, Marv Selge of Selge Construction Company, based in Niles, and they crafted a deal with several other principals from the construction firm to negotiate a buyout. The Tribune says they settled on a price of $550,000 for the course, and its fate as a golf venue may well be at risk as a result.
Ringler, who reportedly lives across the river from the course, is quoted by the Tribune as saying, “If the people at Blackthorn couldn’t make it work, I don’t know who can.” The new owners are “not opposed” to Signal Point remaining a golf club, but both are highly skeptical.
The course, now closed for the season, has been a popular draw for Notre Dame coaches like Lou Holtz who played there regularly, and others. Tim Firestone, Erik Haag and Joe Herbert, who bought the club in July of 2018 were the sellers to Ringler, Selge and partners.
The course has been around since it first opened in 1963, and maintained a membership of 100 or fewer every year to keep it exclusive and extremely well maintained.
That top flight maintenance may have been the biggest draw for the developers who now own it, as they recognize that there are already several homes around the course, setting the stage for what could become a multi-million development going forward.
If Signal Point becomes history, it will mark the second major course to fade from the scene following the closure at the end of the season of Berrien Hills Golf Club in St. Joseph Charter Township. That tract, also along the St. Joseph River, had been a golf haven for fans for 95 years. Stay tuned.