If a church is bought by orthodox jews, should it be torn down or is it ok to just remodel the inside?
After demolishment, don’t forget to dig up the deeply buried tzeilem and unearth it.
it has to lay unused for a specific amount of time after purchase. I think a year. it was done here in chicago and the remodeling wasn’t started until that time had past (and isn’t done yet). even tho it was empty for a bit before the purchase, i think it has to be left unused afterwards.
I am aware of churches that became Orthodox synagogues that barely got remodeled at all.
When you buy the building your lawyer should have it written in the contract that all idols and religious items should be removed prior to sale. Prior to closing you should inspect the building to make sure there are no religious objects.
All that is needed is the nullification by a non Jew, of the church. So for example if a non Jewish employee would crack or dent any idol or cross or other religious object prior to taking possession there should be no problem.
Please contact a Posek before purchasing a house of worship as any non Jewish religious object must be destroyed and you can’t get a benefit from it once the Jew takes possession of the building.