When the landlords were ready to sell, or developers began to build, Ms. Blumin would pack her bags and find a new space in yet another soon-to-gentrify neighborhood.
She got her start in the business at Ketchum, the global public relations firm. “It was soul-crushing work,” she said in a 2014 New York Times profile. “I hated my life.”
In 2001, Ms. Blumin helped the developer Jonathan Leitersdorf convert his apartment in the NoHo section of Manhattan into a space for photo shoots and corporate events. Soon, the model Gisele Bündchen was standing by the pool on Mr. Leitersdorf’s roof while a photographer snapped away.
To finance her nascent operation, Ms. Blumin took out a series of loans on Manhattan properties and flipped them. Equal parts developer, event planner and urban archaeologist, she took over 18,000 square feet of abandoned industrial space at Hudson and Spring Streets early on, transforming it in 2004 into a clean white box that was used by clients including Tommy Hilfiger and Nike.
After that, Ms. Blumin obtained leases for the James A. Farley Post Office across from Pennsylvania Station and a space in the West Village, both of which have served as main sites for New York Fashion Week events.
Dan Barasch, an entrepreneur and a friend of Ms. Blumin’s since their days at Cornell University, said she was guided by a desire to have an “adventure that was risky, that others wouldn’t try.”
That sense of risk took her to Puerto Rico, where Ms. Blumin was in the process of buying a house, according to another friend, Vanessa Grigoriadis, a writer for several publications, including The New York Times Magazine.
Shortly after celebrating the birthday of her son Theo in April, Ms. Blumin traveled to Puerto Rico with her children. They were joined there by Mr. Ulrich, an experienced…