The developers who illegally destroyed the 159-year-old Corkman Irish pub have publicly apologised and agreed to rebuild.

This afternoon the site owners Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski sent a letter to Planning Minister Richard Wynne with an apology.

"We want to make absolutely clear that we will rebuild the building at our expense," the letter says, which the Age says was given to paper by “well-connected Labor lobbyists”.

Wynne and the City of Melbourne launched a VCAT action earlier today to pressure the site owners to rebuild in line with the “design, scale and layout” of the destroyed pub.

The Minister says he is not swayed by the apology and will continue the action.

"We want an enforceable order on the pub owners to reinstate the building within 12 months."

The pub, which was previously known as the Carlton Inn, had a heritage overlay but was demolished on October 15 despite the developers having no building or planning permits. They also continued the destruction despite a council stop-work order.

On top of this, the site owners have dumped asbestos waste from the demolition at another of their properties in a residential area in the north-western suburb of Cairnlea.