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Ansley Spark

For generations and iterations, the Ansley family has helped build Atlanta. Now the torch has been passed to Bonneau Ansley III.

Jennifer and Bonneau Ansley with dog, Bodie, and children, Beau and Blakely

Ansley’s ancestors—Thomas R.R. Cobb with his family

“Real estate and my family have long been intertwined,” explains Bonneau Ansley III, a fifth-generation Atlantan and our Men’s Book Atlanta guest editor this month. After all, it was his great-uncle, Edwin P. Ansley, who envisioned the city’s first luxury residential neighborhood in 1904. Ansley Park—with its wide, winding parkways—was perfect for the newly popular automobile at the time. Edwin’s stately residence, Ansley Mansion, even served as the Georgia Governor’s Mansion from 1925 until 1968. “It’s one of the few intown neighborhoods which has endured for over a century and remains as exclusive and desirable today as when first developed,” notes Bonneau, who, at age 37, is one of the youngest real estate agents to be honored with a number of the industry’s highest accolades, including the top agent in Georgia from Christie’s International Real Estate. Even in 2009, his first year selling in Atlanta, he was named the top individual agent in the city with his record-breaking sales volume.

From the late 18th century to the present, the Ansley family’s presence in real estate, law and education has been integral to the city’s progress as a regional and national center. As a University of Georgia graduate, Bonneau is proud of his “two great-great-great-great-grandfathers, both instrumental in the university’s earliest era.” In the early 1800s, one was Supreme Court Justice Joseph Henry Lumpkin, who was a co-founder of The University of Georgia Law, with the other, Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb. Cobb was also influential in writing part of the Confederate Constitution, preserved in The University of Georgia library. Having organized Cobb’s Legion, Gen. Cobb led a troop with the Army of Northern Virginia and at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

As the generations went on, the family spawned even more impressive figures. Bonneau’s great-grandfather was Judge Shepard Bryan, who founded the law firm of Bryan, Carter, Ansley & Smith, which later became Carter & Ansley.

Taking a cue from Bonneau’s father—a successful homebuilder who built and sold one of Atlanta’s largest homebuilding companies—the younger Bonneau (then in his mid-20s) traveled to the low country of South Carolina to try his own luck in the business. Still thriving today, Turner Ansley Development is responsible for developing most of the village at Palmetto Bluff and continues to set the standard for luxury homebuilding there.

Family names aside, his success in real estate is all his own. He is responsible for some of the largest commercial transactions in downtown Savannah—most notably the Ellis Square transformation—and is a partner in the Harry Norman office in Savannah. After a tremendous house fire in Savannah prompted a move back to Atlanta, Bonneau assisted Carter in the development of Atlanta’s most luxurious townhome development, Regents Park at Peachtree Battle. Soon after completion, Bonneau formed the Ansley Group, which is the leader of high-end real estate sales all over Atlanta. As a successful entrepreneur, Bonneau has been involved with numerous technology startups, and is always looking for the next big thing. We have to beg the question: When does this guy sleep?

Bonneau, alongside his college sweetheart, Jen, lives in Haynes Manor with their two children and two dogs. Completing their dream home in 2007, it looks like the next generation of this family is in Atlanta for the long haul—to continue the ever impressive Ansley legacy.